Tuesday, 9 October 2012

My Architectural Autobiography (Work in Progress)

When I started there were just the houseboats
WW2 gun emplacements, miles of shoreline
comfortable drizzle
Later there was a duffle coat, my friends old Morris Minor
places to hide dirty magazines.

At university, architecture felt like class.
Once I learnt it was a concrete houseboat, moored like the ships of Achilles on the side of a steep hill. We got on designing fire stations and schools and housing to ferocious criticism.
Other times it was bungalows in Newmarket, and a map of Europe, a Moto Guzzi and filthy jeans.
In summer it was a farm
sleeping in barns when it rained.

Then I nearly had it, worked at it, didn't yet know it.
Architecture was a mirage.
Technology would get smaller
Power would get bigger
Less of it the better.
Thats what we said
(but there was no money in that)
The wall came down.

When architecture had done with cardboard it would be on with the images.
Even the lingering perfume of lap dancers.
I was a young man intoxicated with many things
Las Vegas seemed a level playing field
(If there ever was one)
Architecture might be a martini
in the correct circumstances.
The twin towers came down.

Now the architecture was the thing that made the architecture and made it fall too.
It would decide who had a house and whether they lived on Iceland's fishfingers.
But it was also our home
It was suddenly a kitchen that worked well
A bathroom that worked well
a staircase
a boiler, doorhandles, floors......grandma's armchair (reupholstered)
The impossibility of a local council that worked.
It was words, shoutings, books, any construction to explain them all away.
But it was not peanut butter.

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