BD Blog No. 9
I Do Architecture Because...
Following on from the internationally acclaimed series of short films by Billabong entitled ‘I Surf Because’ documenting the motivations of famous surfers http://www.isurfbecause.com/ I felt that it might be interesting, (if a little less glamorous) to ask the same question of architects. This may initially appear a banal and ludicrous comparison but as a surfer and Architect I have often recognised similarities in the drive and single-mindedness which often elevate both activities to an obsession.
Simply put I asked architects with whom I have previously worked (and some that I haven’t) to answer the question in a line, paragraph or even picture. The following selection of responses, gratefully received, are from members of the following practices:
I do architecture...
...because architecture does me.
...because buildings need an idea to avoid banality.
...because its taken my lifetime to understand (part of) it.
...because someone’s got to do it.
...because I can build my imagination.
...because I care.
...because I believe in humanism, moderation, handcrafted perfectionism, modesty, quietude and purposefulness.
...because product design is for losers.
...because evolution takes too long.
...because I didn’t realise I’d be locked in for life.
...because I did not want to be a lawyer.
…because I like metal detectors. Oh, you mean that’s not architecture. S**t.
…because I didn’t get the grades for medicine.
…because it pays the bills (not).
...because good architecture gives my soul space to breathe.
...because I'm obsessed about they way things look and function.
...because I have always wanted to become and architect since I was a small child.
...because there is profound pleasure in bringing thoughts into existence and defining them in matter.
...because as Le Corbusier wrote in Mise au Point 'Nothing is transmissible except thought'.
...because I don’t like being cold and wet.
...because my father told me not to.
...because my mother told me to.
...because it makes me hated just a little bit less than bankers.
...because I thought it was really exciting and I thought I’d be rich.
...because I put K100 on the UCAS application form.
...because I’m a child who loves to make bases.
...because I don’t know how to retire.
...because who would do anything else.
...because I’m a narcissist.
...because picking up a pencil each day allows me to produce anything... Any shape, building, street or detail, the mind never gets bored.
...because It gives me freedom to express.
...because...I ask myself the same question every day, but my ass is so sore I can’t think straight.
…because I’m worth it.
John Pardey: ‘that’s why’. Picture of Kaufman House above
Whether this sheds any light on the curious motivations behind this strange breed of people is questionable. All this exercise has highlighted for me is the fact that given the choice between architect and professional surfer, I may have made a grave error of judgment.
By Henry Goss