crit 39

How changes occur and the orders in which they emerge are placed by both time and events. In biological terms the phenomena was first explained by Charles Darwin and Alfred Russell Wallace who in 1858 jointly unveiled their theories On the Tendency of Species to form Varieties; and on the Perpetuation of Varieties and Species by Natural Means of Selection. Examining the changing nature of life is a long-term process; the capacity to interrogate how, when, and why variations and mutations exist is in part inherent in the opportunities that rise and the potential for spontaneity or alliances to occur. Essentially, to visualize why things become, as Charles Darwin did in 1837 when he sketched the first evolution tree, one has to look for details, similarities, connections, and mutations. Such a method is intricate yet extremely informative as scientists seek to clarify how nothing singular or static and evolution is a perpetual state of life.

In this scenario, what is interesting for architects is that in studying gametes and genomes, scientists are unveiling how survival is a matter of interconnectivity. It transcends species, location, and composition. Thus, the reproduction of architecture, like survival, is profoundly influenced by the built world that transcends physical limits and geodetic boundaries. Indisputably (and unless we re-start the history of life), the built world is inclusive of its past, present and emerging happenings.

As information adjusts, advances, and shifts architecture will expand and further distance its production from governance. In fact, looking around our built environment it is striking how strong initiatives across the global landscape exist and it is not because of multi-lateral corporations or global associations, or in lieu of site-less sites like URL’s; instead it is due to how executors think and disseminate ideas. So, the characteristics of the classical roman arch first developed during 400 BC are not quite visible from an airplane ride over the Mississippi River, yet in tracking the design processes of the St. Louis Gateway, evidence of its intellectual ingenuity emerge.

The trajectory reveals that, while Eero Saarinen is the architect of the project, it is the thread of creative thinkers, professional entities, and industries that provide extensive design ingenuity. They are experts, and risk takers that forward architecture. Indeed, some of our most and least successful buildings do not lie in the virtues of law bearing domains; instead, collaborative participation’s conjure the outcome. As such, in threading the processes, one can stitch together that ancient Romans, Hannskari Bandel [engineer], Richard Bowser [ferry wheel/elevator design], National Park Service [clients], Fire Department [structural adjusters], Pittsburgh-Des Moines Steel Company, MacDonald Construction Company of St. Louis and countless unrecognized individuals, provided their foresight and extended beyond the architect to produce the architecture of the St. Louis Arch.

Such transference of ideas rises as information permeates and replicates in similar ways to a living organism, where metabolic [building] processes repeat and mutate in remote locations away from the original source. In the age of advance digital information, the art and practice of building is distinct in that executors, autodidactics, carpenters, community groups, and others built regardless of law-abiding architects. This to-from activity, informed by URL’s or feeding information back to the network, significantly offsets established norms and gives rise to impromptu occurrences and entrepreneurial design processes.

The difficult question is not how to safeguard the architect but how to openly embrace all aspects of building processes. At the rate that architecture divides, multiplies, and reproduces the task and expertise of architects is relegated to a law-abiding builder rather than a creative producer.

-Maria Vera

Vera teaches at the Southern Illinois University Carbondale School of Architecture. She received her BArch from NYIT and her March in Urban Culture from Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya-Metropolis.

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Categories: Architecture, Research, Theory

Author:jonbailey

studying: architecture design

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