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In defense of architects

I am an architect and real people don’t hire architects………?   Of course real people do actually hire architects, but just not very often.  A person may buy ten or twenty cars over a lifetime, or numerous appliances, housewares, sporting goods, clothes.  Most of these are carefully considered purchases.  What about houses. It is not unusual for someone to own several houses over a lifetime and often more than one at a time.  Are these purchases carefully considered as well?  Certainly in terms of location, size, price  they are.  What about function, deportment, appearance, even spirit?  Are these equally important?  Probably yes, if the item considered is a coat, or a boat.  Not so the house, though.

Is deportment an architectural term?

Why do homeowners seem to care only up to the point of location, size, price and maybe some function?  Could the answer be simply that life gets in the way.  My point, and the point of this blog, is that it doesn’t have to be that way.  There are too many qualified architects out there, fluent in the art of deportment, appearance, even spirit; also function and all that stuff too. They can add a lot of value for often very little cost.  Hiring one is really not more difficult than buying that boat.  Home owners only need look.

In search of hózhó

I have realized over the five or so years that I have spent with this blog,  that I am looking for something.  It has to do with a new way of thinking about how we live, how we relate to the world around us.  Is it fine to be lead by planners, developers, marketers?  Are they so convincing, so good at meeting our needs that we are little inclined towards our house as an extension of self.  Have we objectified the environment into a commodity? Do we think it can be controlled like a zoo or some botanical garden.  Have we stopped living as part of it, i.e., all of it good and bad?  Have we lost our “hózhó;” redefined it into non existence?  If I were a Navajo, I would probably say yes.  But since I am not, I unashamedly admit that most of what I know about this word I learned from Tony Hillerman.

Redefining architecture

Le Corbusier wrote a series of influential architectural essays which eventually became Towards a New Architecture a well known theoretical commentary.  Today it suggests that it is possible to look forward.  I suppose I am looking for a fresh approach, perhaps architecture for the individual.

Speaking of individuals, I sometimes appear, in these explorations, to mock those I write about.  To this I plead guilty.  I make fun of lots of houses and buildings because they are fun.  But more than that, they are physical forms that have been emancipated from recognized standards of beauty, of how things aught to look.  I hesitate to even mention here, for fear of starting a “gold rush,” that this makes them a marvelous natural resource, perhaps an architecture of freedom.

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