miércoles, 1 de julio de 2009

Everyday Architectural Criticism (Abstract)

Is architectural criticism just for us architects? Or is it meant for the common citizen, the one who dwells, lives and dreams inside architecture?

If we are to agree that architectural criticism is written just for a relatively small group of professionals and academics, there is hardly anything to add to the matter. We can assume then that we are members of a guild of sorts and we can carry on with our debates.

If we sustain that architectural criticism – as architecture itself – is meant to serve people, then we are forced to see there is an ever growing gap between it and its intended public. From the words we use to the examples we posed, it seems that architectural critics purposely tried to scare away their intended readers.

Meanwhile, when most readers think about architecture they picture two very different things: those great buildings made by recognised architectures and, as if it were something entirely non-related, their own houses, the shops they go into and their places of work or leisure.

Architecture criticism should be a bridge between architects and users, between our profession and everyday architecture, for there is architecture that we architects are not aware of, such as what the user does to a finished building after moving in or, more dramatically, when it is the user the one who designs and builds without an architect help or counsel.

While it is unquestionable the role of criticism when it is applied to those great creations, we have yet to focus our efforts on a responsible critic of that every-day architecture, that is also friendly to the public.

Using the case of the peripheral architecture in Lima (Perú) and some examples of architectural criticism, we will propose a line of action for what we call everyday architectural criticism.

Abstract for the Symposium Writing Architecture, Birsbane, August 2009.

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