So you want to be an architect – Part 6

Learn design with Doug Patt at his live virtual webcam studio.

Hi. Im Doug Patt and this is so you want to be an architect part 6. What does an architect mean? When I was in high school we read the grapes of wrath. Unfortunately, I only read the cliffs notes. When we discussed the book in class I was lost but what I remember changed my views about meaning forever. In the beginning of the book John Steinbeck devotes an entire chapter to the trials and tribulations of a turtle crossing a dusty high way. The turtle is a symbol or metaphor for the main characters of the book. Even though the chapter seems incredibly out of place, the metaphor adds further illustration to the lives of the main characters. Steinbeck used metaphor to accentuate and add meaning to his story. Life is about meaning. Whether its finding meaning in nature, belief, others, objects or our present, past and future. Victor Frankl, a writer and Nazi concentration camp survivor said, “We can discover this meaning in life in three different ways: (1) by creating a work or doing a deed; (2) by experiencing a something or encountering someone; and (3) by the attitude we take toward unavoidable suffering.” Just as Frankl said, artists, writers, sculptors, painters, designers, & architects find and impart meaning through creating a work. Those that inhabit or view the work find meaning by experiencing it. Now, buildings have meaning whether we see it directly or not. Architecture can have meaning simply by virtue of its size, shape or location. The world trade centers stood for, among other things, democracy and capitalism even though it didnt say so on their facades. A monument may stand for important events or the great achievements of people and on a smaller scale a home may stand for working class or well to do. The architect may also find & portray both theory and meaning by using the language of a particular style such as art nouveau, futurism, modernism, brutalism, postmodernism or de-constructivism. Another way the architect may incorporate meaning is through careful evaluation of the project and development of themes and ideas. These are then carried through the architecture in a multitude of physical ways, such as in the forms, facades, windows, openings, materials, floors, displays, views, construction and similes. Now everyone sees through their own eyes what theyre so inclined. That means the architect cant dictate the message they intend but they can use meaning to add a kind of foundation of substance to their work. That foundation may ultimately enrich the architecture and perhaps even ones experience just as Steinbecks turtle does for The Grapes of Wrath. And that concludes; so you want to be an architect, part 6. Im Doug Patt. See you next time.


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