the regionalism debate is dead. it died of its own hand when a search for ‘roots’ found them in the aestheticised sepia tinted villages of rajasthan and the light and shadow that dappled the step wells of gujarat. it was here that the real
this may seem a throwback to the drug addled sixties manufactured “
it is this
this distrust has even found its way into a general suspicion of language. words are considered to be dissimulators- obstacles in the journey for us to find our true selves- as if that self is removed from our everyday experience as human beings. this is an architecture in the service of the spiritual and the religious. churches, temples of learning indulge themselves in the urge to lift us beyond ourselves. the ordinary has no place in this discourse. great men shall show us the real way- away from our real selves.
it is no wonder then than the blank empty spaces of minimalism have turned out to be so evocative for architects with their emphasis on pure texture, light and shadow. they transcend the complicated everyday and bring universal essences alive. but do we live in universal essences? do we desire to live in them? if either of these were true perhaps architectural discourse would not be as meaningless as it seems today.
i remember the sarcasm of ‘punjabi baroque’ when i had first read it and mistaken it for a case for everyday people and their desires as being relevant for architecture. that was until i got to the high moral posturing towards the end that scoffed at everybody who attempted to create ‘dream homes’ inspired by the vague assembly of images that constitutes the popular imagination of being “classy”. i was so disappointed by that. disappointed by the cultural snobbishness that was inherent in the position so evangelically anti-image.
to this culture images are evil.. they are not ‘true’. there is a deeper self to be explored (“beautiful from the inside”) . that is where a cultural gap exists. a generational gap.. madhushree said- "for us images are grammar- for the young they are language”
with images being the new language of world culture, and their ability to be a completely new trans-national system of communication, our denial of the language of image leaves us on the outside screaming as the world spirals out of our control.
i don’t know what- but something is missing.. i need a new lens to see.. a framework to understand.. i need to be able to formulate my thoughts.. i need to know why i currently prefer alvar aalto over louis kahn, ralph erskine over tadao ando, rem koolhas over peter eisenman, christopher alexander over rob krier.
i need a new manifesto.