Tuesday, 12 November 2013

LSA The New School of Architecture

As architecture in conventional schools runs through it's Tales From Topographic Oceans, triple concept album progressive rock period, when even the most liberal of staff might be minded to agree with Rick Wakeman, that 'even I didn't know what we were singing about, and I was in the band', it is perhaps a matter of cause and effect that there might be some sort of grass roots rebellion, and a potential new school.
Prog-rock was of course energised by the noodling of the Moog synthesiser, which at least facilitated, maybe even encouraged, some appalling and lengthy lyrical drivel. Rick Wakeman and Jon Anderson surely deserved each other. And so now in architecture forty years later, we have Grasshopper and Rhino fusing fairy stories of one kind or another in all permutations over many many sheets of paper. However what could on the surface appear pleasant madrigals of dissuasion might conceal an alarmingly political subtext, just as Rush are, in fact, Randian.
For me it is not surprising to see cross sections of locusts on the walls of the architectural studios, or projects revolving around the eating habits of sloths, or for that matter any inspiration from the natural world, for these life forms seem an important and convenient last resort of inspiration. Grasshoppers and sloths have not done anything wrong, they are what they are. Humans are more problematic, we have, and continue to do, and it has been lurking in my consciousness for some time that beneath the madrigals lies a steely discipline even Loyola (above) would have appreciated as the Catholic church fought back the Reformation in the C16th. There is certainly something of the religious exercise to today's architectural product (I fear even using the term 'work') and there is considerable self flagellation. In fact, there is much of the character of the inquisition.
I'm not sure how the new school will work, the schools are a powerful bastion and I am not heretical, so I'm not going to the meeting tonight at the Architecture Foundation partly because I hope the old guard keep their noses out of it (some hope!) and partly because the LSA have charmingly not really got around to how they might teach my particular subject area. However I do enjoy it when the mechanisms of straightforward cause and effect become so plainly evident, and as a consequence I wave politely from a vatican window.

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