Poetry & Architecture
Monday 22 August
Poetry is in architecture can be created without conscious effort or even human intervention. Abandonment and time can create poetry. The way of the poetic in architecture is similar to but ultimately different from narrative. It works by locating and positioning not merely in physical but emotional, political and cultural space. When standing in front of a building of a rich and specific culture you can sense yourself in relation to the world in which it belongs. When the position given by architecture enables new views that affect what or how you see there can be poetry. See is used in its widest sense: understand, find, project, regard, determine, examine, experience, interpret. Written poetry can also be seen as a place created by the poet. You visit this place when reading the poem. The place of the poem is not the environment it describes but a place from which you can see things you cannot from elsewhere. Every time you visit it is the same place but being a place you find new things by looking in a different direction.
Poetic devices in architecture
The poetic devices such as simile, personification, paradox and rhythm are also the architectural devices that allow a building to communicate.
Simile is quite common in architecture. Buildings or architectural elements are often made to resemble things of another kind. For years now skeletons and textbook visualisation of small scale biology has been popular choices of reference. Some schools of thought are reluctant to accept the figurative devices of architecture. Rhythm not being one of them makes it universally accepted.
Personification, endowing buildings with human qualities or appearance is often tenuous and rarely attempted by architects. Critics see it more readily which would suggest that personification should perhaps be attempted more often in architecture. The paradox is another device in difficulty. Direct clarity is often seen as beautiful but clarity suggests a rigidity that is not poetry.
Designed Poetry in Architecture
Churches and other places for contemplation or religion are always special. They are the setting for rituals which in themselves would secure a poetic position in peoples minds regardless of content or subject. They often acknowledge death and to do so today is very rare. Even disbelievers who do not believe in the ritual or the concept of god see the quietness and presence of death as poetic. However simplistic this idea of poetry is it appears to be prevailing. But he architect, or anyone interested in the poetic in architecture, cannot resign to the idea that the poetic is available only for religious buildings. The poetry of architecture would then be one dimensional in comparison to the written counterpart that appear to cover every subject known to man. The idea of poetry as a place from which things appear different. A place richer than the place we stand in without poetry. A place we can return to without exhausting its ability to make us see.
To create a place where things are seen in a different light is ambitious. If the building is to be poetic when the doors open for the first time the designer has to have found a place of sufficient poetry and he must have articulated it in such a way that it is accessible to other people. This is of almost impossible difficulty. Society, client and other actors in construction can be responsible for the poetry through complex and entangled events. Besides struggling to find a view of the world worth communication the designer can always attempt to trick time and change to work in his favour. Techniques and devices from written poetry can be transfered to architecture. But as with all art technique is never enough and could even prevent accidental moments of magic.
BRINGING DOWN EMPTY SPACE
The Next Images are the beginning of the end for the old postal building on Main st. Hamilton, they have till the end of this week to bring -it – down., More images to follow in coming days:
Architecture can't fully represent the chaos and turmoil that are part of the human personality,
but you need to put some of that turmoil into the architecture, or it isn't real. Frank Stella
Architecture is the will of an epoch translated into space. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
An important work of architecture will create polemics. Richard Meier
References :The Charged Void, Architecture New York, Monacelli Press
Doug Worrall Photographer