ACA’s main mission is to collect, preserve, diffuse and make architecture archives accessible to the research community and to the interested public.
Architecture archives document Architecture, its history, its practice, its practitioners; they constitute a wealth of information. It seeks to shed light on modern architecture, urban and landscape design, targeting the recognition of modern heritage. In 2015, the Arab Center for Architecture is organizing a program to raise awareness on urban and architectural modern heritage in Lebanon.
Architect Leon Krier has suggested that while there should be no height limit on buildings, no building should ever be more than four stories (so, spires as tall as you like, and belfries). After all, they embody nearly every bad tendency in contemporary architecture: they are not part of nature, they are monolithic, they are boring, they have no intricacy, and they have no democracy. But Gehry is the architects’ favorite architect , so he can get away with admitting that he’s just doodling fish, and people will think he’s very profound.
Most architects avoid double curves, as I did, because we didn’t have a language for translation into a building that was viable and economical. And that’s when I started with this fish shtick, as I think of it, and started drawing the damn things, and I realized that they were architectural, conveying motion even when they were not moving. Hence blobitecture”: the architect precisely designs the exact perfect kind of blob, using elaborate digital design and engineering tools, without stopping to wonder whether people actually like blobs.
Likewise, form” is dwelled on excessively; architects care far more about the shape of the building than whether its inhabitants are comfortable. Far more important than ideas” are the feelings that a building generates, the experiences people will have in it, and these should be given priority. But most people who use a building don’t understand whatever abstract theoretical notion the architect was trying to convey.
For example: the buildings in New Orleans’ French Quarter are not actually elaborate. Designing a comforting, pleasing, and, yes, nostalgic space is simply not smart enough. 5. THE FEAR OF LOOKING FOOLISH — The people who most loudly disdain traditional architecture are those most concerned to convince others of their own intellectual seriousness.
We have inherited a palette of possibilities from the architectural practice of all prior cultures, and to squander it is both ungrateful and needless. 2. THE FEAR OF ORNAMENT — Ornament is not an indulgence; it’s an essential part of the practice of building. Rather than being concerned to give people comfortable houses that fit in with their surroundings and suited the preferences of the residents, Gehry designed houses that screamed for attention and were fundamentally about themselves rather than about the people of the city he ostensibly cared about.
Good architecture is made better by the life that people bring to it, but one gets the sense in a contemporary structure that one is befouling the place with one’s odors and filth. We are not meant to live in modern buildings; they are made for people who do not poop. Unlike in the age of artisanship, there is today a strong separation between the process of designing and the process of making.
At the moment, the needs or wishes of the people who actually have to use buildings are rarely considered at all. Many of the worst parts of contemporary architecture have echoes of the bad” parts of leftism: the dreariness of the Soviet Union, the dehumanizing tendency to try to impose from above a grand conception of a new social order. The left, in particular, should eagerly embrace a conception of architecture that is both democratic and sophisticated.
Eisenman says he prefers to work for right-wing clients, because liberal views have never built anything of value,” due to their incessant concern with public process and public needs. Well, Peter Eisenman has spoken for a lot of architects in being generally dismissive of democracy, saying that the role of the architect is not to give people what they want, but what they should want if they were intelligent enough to have good taste. Yet architects are reluctant to build in the styles that people find more beautiful.
When people are polled, they tend to prefer older buildings to postwar buildings; very few postwar buildings make it onto lists of most treasured places. Contemporary architecture shuns the classical use of multiple symmetries, intentionally refusing to align windows or other design elements, and preferring unusual geometric forms to satisfying and orderly ones. The only perfect building must be the factory, because that is built to house machines, not men.”
The problem of architecture is the problem of all art: the elimination of the human element from the consideration of form. Eisenman is a well-known starchitect” whose projects are inspired by the deconstructive philosophy of Jacques Derrida, and whose forms are intentionally chaotic and grating. The anti-decorative consensus also accorded with the artistic consensus about what kind of spirit” 20th century architecture ought to express.
(Thankfully, nobody took him quite seriously enough to let him do it.) Corbusier may have done more than anyone to convince architects that they were no longer allowed to decorate their creations, issuing unquestionable pronouncements, like the desire to decorate everything about one is a false spirit and an abominable small perversion” and the more a people are cultivated, the more decor disappears.” He condemned precious and useless objects that accumulated on the shelves,” and decried the rustling silks, the marbles which twist and turn, the vermilion whiplashes, the silver blades of Byzantium and the Orient… Let’s be done with it!” A generation of architects with both socialistic and fascistic political leanings saw ornament as a sign of bourgeois decadence and cultural indulgence, and began discarding every design element that could be considered mere decoration.” The 20th century put a stop to this, evidenced by the fact that people often go out of their way to vacation in historic” (read: beautiful) towns that contain as little postwar architecture as possible.