Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Architecture, Society and Culture

I watch trees sway through a tiny window as a warm breeze throws itself against the buildings, structures of concrete walls and cold steel that leave much to be desired by the senses. We are slaves to the architecture that should be serving us. Yet we have a choice; the cultural decisions we make can also have a functional purpose in society and our architecture.

Here are a few shots I took while covering a presentation by my architecture professor's Design 4 students on a theory in architecture that is being enforced, thankfully, by the professionals of our age: space surrounding a structure or object- the available resources of the natural landscape, the cultural purpose of those creating it - is what influences creation of the object. This theory contrasts with the centuries-old, hierarchical practice of a city created by powerful figures and institutions that deplete the surrounding environment.

The "illuminated creations" shaped by the student represent the cavity-minded view that instead of experiencing just the thing, the object itself - a common mindset of Western culture and architecture - structures are formed by the space surrounding it, a bottom-up process of influence, history and correlation.

Don't we just want to break the windows and let the breeze flow through?

Professor Dwayne Bohuslav gives feedback to his Design 4 students while they model "illuminated wearable creations" Feb. 15. Bohuslav received $1,000 from the local chapter of the American Institute of Architects and lighting from Del Lighting to fund the project. Four teams will compete with their costumes at the private AIA San Antonio Beaux Arts Ball Feb. 26 at the Grand Hyatt, followed by an exhibition at AIA's Pearl Studio, 200 E. Grayson, and at Luminaria downtown March 12.

Architecture sophomore Judith Fernandez models her costume Feb. 15 while team members Marcela Resendez and James Stopher watch. The design represents themes of stereometry, the process of determining the volume and dimensions of a solid, or the kind of space we live in.

Lucas Cornelius, Ivonne Perea, Oscar Rincon, and Judith Fernandez.

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