Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Materiality in Architecture

To enjoy 'materiality' in architecture tends to mean you like the qualities that certain materials seem to have, like enjoying mohair suits, but this is contentious, for everything, as Roland Barthes observed back in 1956, may end up being made of plastic. Meanwhile, as Joni Mitchell observed in 'Woodstock'(1969) everything can also be ultimately reduced to billion year old carbon atoms. Barthes and Mitchell illuminate an intriguing conceptual position. Meanwhile, and on the other hand, to be dedicated to 'materialism' implies somebody who is interested in the mud, the people who dig the mud, the process of making the brick, the bricklayers who lay it and the conditions under which they work, the patrons of the work, their lives, and so on. Materialists cannot contemplate so much as a garden wall without thinking about why it is there, while others enjoy the materiality of the wall and happily sit on it.
However to be 'materialistic' is to enjoy loads of bricks, and not to give a toss about either of those two criteria.

No comments:

Post a Comment