Wednesday 27 April 2011

The disappearance of architecture

The disappearance of architecture as an artistic theme

Buildings emerge and decay. They promise permanence and security, although they are undoubtably constantly remodelled and then disappear one day. Usually they are destroyed as the result of military conflicts or to make room for new buildings, and when they remain untouched, they are still inevitably subjected to the effects of natural forces and thereby to deterioration. To this extent, in contrast to the other arts, architecture, horticulture, and urban planning have a special relationship with nature: they must confront its forces directly. This precarious relationship to nature, whereby their own disappearance must necessarily be taken into account, ca be a theme for art. This applies also to the destruction of what exists through new creation, which likewise contributes to architecture’s disappearance.

Foundation as displacement

Every construction process changes the spatial context and is even capable of ruining the evolved urban fabric and its environment. In the city, this process begins with the evacuation of buildings before demolition to make room for new structures. Gordon Matta-Clark alluded, on the one hand, to the broken windows theory, according to which the first signs of a neighbourhood’s decline can be read from the broken windowpanes of unoccupied buildings.

Nature in architecture

Architecture’s constitutive paradox, defending something existent against transitoriness with the forces of nature against nature, has no permanence and finds its fate in the built structure’s decay. The clash of nature and civilization becomes visible in architecture through ruins.

Folie, S. 2009 Modernism as a ruin : an archaeology of the present Nürnberg: Verlag für Moderne Kunst, 2009.

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