Notes on Ethical Context for Fragmentation

Posted on Wednesday, June 29th, 2011 at 5:18 pm

Architectural projects and built work constructed over the last several decades have proven difficult to assess within conventional critical frameworks.  The emphasis on movement rather than stasis, the multiplication of centers that seems to render the very idea of center questionable,  the fluidly continuous edges that fail to provide formal closure, the emphasis on loosely constructed networks rather than a hierarchy of figures,  the concern with emergence, process, and experience rather than  any a priori conceptual model, and finally the overlapping, splintered planes that seem to defy gravity, are all conditions that are in distinct contrast to the concurrent professional  and intellectual milieu where the singular figure has been preeminent.

The longevity of a figural tradition of architecture, where a hierarchy of regular geometrical forms has represented institutional stability and permanence, has allowed for the development of a framework for its understanding, use, and criticism, that unfortunately makes alternatives to this seem oppositional and problematic.  This need not be the case. If we could understand that there is an equally long history of thought that has focused on the vast and often unobserved world beyond the figure, a history of thought more cautious about the premature closing of the figure to what is beyond, then we might be able to recognize the social, political, and ecological potential of this new architecture.



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