ruminations about architecture and design

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

literature vs. architecture

Literature beats architecture any day of the week, provided we're making the comparison between two luxury services. Shelter can be almost devoid of architecture (lots of room for debate here, but bear with me). Architecture happens when a human embellishes shelter with something that conveys a meaning beyond the realm of function. Literature happens whenever someone opens his or her mouth. Even when we have a linguistic exchange that is oriented towards pure survival:

Caveman Thak: Oog was eaten by a lion.
Cavewoman Loona: Oh, that's too bad.

See what a world of possibility and interpretation is created by that story? How did Oog get himself in a spot where a lion could eat him? What kind of lion? What was the relationship of Thak, Oog, and Loona? Communication cannot be assigned boundaries, in contrast to architecture, which is exclusively about boundaries. The embellishment that defines architecture is open to interpretation, but the act of interpretation moves the architecture into a position that is subordinate to language.

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