Research for my new … aw screw it … just … Research

August 1, 2008

I found this book by randomly trailing along the shelves at the library and getting caught on the title. Its called A Hut of One’s Own: Life Outside the Circle of Architecture by Ann Cline. The preface situates me almost perfectly right now so I’ll include a big quote. Also, this author is a word smith after my own heart.
The fact of the matter is that when I said I created this blog to gather research for my thesis I was full of crap. I the thesis was not the purpose. I am a hunter and a gatherer of ideas by nature and the research doesn’t stop when the research project does. So … here some research … for no purpose in particular.

“Suppose that Architecture draws a circle around itself and proclaims – imperious Architecture! – that everything inside the circle is Architecture and everything outside is not. From a great distance – from, say, a picnic bench set up in the middle of the Sea of Tranquility – this circle appears to be a sharp, unambiguous demarcation; an impenetrable line of continuous length and no width. There is no mistaking what lies inside the circle, be it the Pazzi Chapel or Fallingwater, for what lies outside – the realm of bookkeepers, bumblebees, and subatomic particles.
As we approach more closely the line swells and blurs. What we have taken for a wall, inert and opaque, is now more accurately described as a zone several miles across, possessing a breathable atmosphere, and teeming with life.
In A Hut of One’s Own we will take a stroll through these borderlands that surround Architecture – a region of structures and ideas, a wasteland of heterodoxy defined simultaneously by its proximity to Architecture and its proximity to everything else. On our way we will discover simple structures: shacks, tea houses, follies, casitas. Here and there, we will observe ritual practices dedicated to various “Gods,? “Goods,? or goods, and we will (over)hear the practitioners of construction, art and biology discuss beauty satisfaction, freedom, survival and ethics.
Whenever we wander very near to what Architecture most certainly is, we will catch glimpses of shadowy figures slipping out – as if to a secluded dacha, where they have arranged a clandestine rendezvous with other partisans and malcontents, and then slipping back in again. These figures are the protagonists of our story.
This book, then is about eccentrics and recluses, hut dwellers and ne’er-do-wells, a story about lives scribbled in the margins of architecture and history, of huts and follies that would be forgotten but for the curious way misanthropy occasionally turns beneficent.
More than only a story, this book is also an essay that attempts to overturn Architecture’s victory over Individual Experience. Here we will look at dwellings that were not well attuned to the architecture of there era and at their builders, whose lives may instead have been ahead of their time, as if their very inability to march in step raised exactly those cultural issues that later on became helpful.
While this collections limits will appear arbitrary, from my point of view all of the sights are encountered on our stroll – the follies and tea huts, their rituals and antirituals (together with the ideas people have held about them) – have this in common: all acquired their significance during times of cultural transition, when one picture of the world overlapped with its successor. And it is this, in turn, which gives purpose and prejudice to our journey. Right now, comparable transitions are at work; right now, shadowy figures are moving from the circle of Architecture to rendezvous with primitive huts and their avant-gardes, with their makers and denizens.
I know, for I am one of them.?
There. That may as well serve as a manifesto for my next period, be it a week, a month, a year or many. I’m struggling right now to figure out how to fit my three years of intense indoctrination (aka architecture school) in with the values and ideas I held before I found it and with the culture I feel most comfortable with now that I’m again outside of its limits. … Yeah. I don’t have an answer to that yet.

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