Architecture, that is the art of forming space in order to satisfy the needs of man, is created by architects. The assumption being that architects create designs which form spaces. It would follow that to be an architect is to design structures. Whereby, there is a lot of areas of activity where an architect neither designs nor forms space and yet she or he undoubtedly performs her or his mission of an architect. This regards, amongst others, academics and civil servants in the architectural field. It is said that all arts bear a similarity and seek inspiration in each other. Literature describes the picturesqueness of landscapes, poetry has its timbre, painting offers narration and tells a story; by the same token, architecture has a lot in common with music. The notions such as key, overture and coda, rhythm and beat, legato, staccato or counterpoint are normally associated with music – but they are present in architecture too. Goethe said that architecture resembles frozen music. I find it difficult to agree with such comparisons and tracing the similarities, because there is only one art, albeit it occurs in different states of matter. Just like water in its different phases, it is gas or solid, and goes through boiling or sublimation from one state to the other, so the artistic matter can be displayed in different forms of art, expressing the same content in various ways. Through boiling emotions one can translate a literary depiction of Hell (Dante) into architectural plans (Terragni) and sublimate them into a three dimensional digital model (Nagakura). In each case the message is the same, although the medium is different.
It is so because there is one art and there is one architecture. One can practice it as Edwin Drewniak does in sculpture, as Włodzimierz Gruszczyński did in the form of an expressive vision, Joanna Stożek does in the form of a “fictional care-taker”, Jerzy Turbasa does in fashion, Wojciech Plewiński does in photography.
The title of this book seems right at a first glance.
The architects received a dose of academic education in their field and then abandoned architectural design so they seem to be beyond architecture. However, on second thought, I have come to a conclusion that the title should have a question mark. Are the protagonists, oriented towards shaping of space, but in an unconventional way, really beyond architecture? It would follow that an architect is only such a person who builds houses.
Meanwhile, architecture is a complex idea; and so is the idea of being an architect. One can practice architecture through music and photography, painting or haute couture. In spite of focusing on other professions there is no way of escaping from, the one and only, architecture.
I would like to express my joy that this book has been published because the debate over the question: what is architecture? may be expanded into who is an architect.
Chairman of the Krakow Chapter of the Association of Polish Architects SARP
Copyright by Konrad Glos, Rafal Zub 2010