can kanye west save architecture? probably not

I can not say that I am a fan of Kanye West or his music because to call what he does music would be to degrade what real musicians and artists do. This is a personal taste, an opinion, you may disagree, but I don’t really care. And to add insult to injury, Mr. West recently gave a little impromptu speech to the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

Now, it’s bad enough that Kanye West recently announced his foray into the design industries with his new company DONDA…..my ears bleed just thinking about that word…but this little speech is even more offensive because he ACTUALLY MAKES A POINT. Ugh. *face-palm

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Kanye West has made a valid point in regards to architecture, design and the profession. If you can get past his complete rape of the english language, you’ll find he makes two statements that, if applied, could save our profession.

“everything needs to be actually architected.”

Again, this makes my ears bleed. But I think what he is trying to say here is important for the profession – everything should be designed, considered, thought out, conceptualized, reasoned, crafted, and, if necessary, discarded. Too often architects, myself included, leave things up to the consultant, contractor or simply for during construction. We rush through the design and detailing toward a set that is “good enough” for permit. Each piece of a building is important, from the size and shape of window openings to their relative 3D position within the wall assembly to the type of brick mortar joints used and how they affect light and shadow on a building to the terminations and intersections of various finish materials. And all of these elements should be thought about as they relate to and inform upon the experience of our clients and the building inhabitants.

“the conversation always turns to realization, self-realization, and actually seeing your creativity happen in front of you…”

Oh the pain…..the PAIN. But, again he’s making a point – architects should create all the time. No matter if it’s sketching, drafting, folding paper or making spit balls. Use your hands and create SOMETHING. As architects we deal with every piece of a building and site: exterior walls, windows, landscaping, hardscaping, parking, roads, curbs, gutters, drywall, paint, lighting, hvac duct work, trim, furniture….the list goes on. In order to best understand something we have to pick it up, turn it, play with it, break it, taste it (yes I have actually licked a brick before…don’t judge me). We need to experience all of the pieces and parts of a building in order to best understand how use them in building.

If architects would do more of these two things, DESIGN and CREATE than perhaps more people would again begin to value our profession.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s