Inquiry: 21st Century Architecture  – a personal perspective of an “affected end user”

The bah-rah. A naturalistic water fountain, Syria. See: Structures of Impermanence.... architect/artist: Talin Hazbar

by LJ Frank

How we design, shape and use the space around us and the products we create are an intimate expression of how we view ourselves as human beings in actuality, and in the abstract. Our architecture is the theater in which we as actors allow our passions, beliefs, and knowledge to evolve and become poetic expressions of humanity itself ~ LJ Frank

 Virtually connected, environmentally enriching, the design of space is a conversation we have with our self, our neighbors and our community and the world as a whole. Such conversations are not just for the wealthiest or well-connected but for all women, men and children no matter their position in life.  

I have found over the decades with careers in public service, private companies and having my own firm that to allow for the integrity, emotional and physical health of a person – socially responsible private and public spaces are needed to allow the person to be able to realize individual wellness and self-expression. Private space is a stage where a person can act out and individualize the performance of their own existence. They become their own playwright and performer.

The value of a personal relationship to things is that it creates intimacy and intimacy creates understanding and understanding creates love  ~   Anais Nin

 Open public spaces are good for communal gatherings and with nature itself but private space is necessary for inner peace, where the outside natural world enters into the intimacies of the inner sanctum of place. Such places are not the privilege of wealth. For that only divides the classes of people further and creates enmity between people. That thinking destroys our conscience and is the seed of tumult and revolution.

The 19th century author Mark Twain once intimated that one cannot depend on one’s eyes if one’s imagination is out of focus, but the actuality is also this –  to be able to truly envision even the possibility of hope one must have space that allows for individual expression.  An individual’s self-expression allows for the development of integrity and societal support in the larger sense.

 Culture and humanity thrive by providing designs that uplift the individual. Merging with the natural world also allows for the natural expression of human desire, passion, sensual and intellectual needs.  Communal space in the future must allow for greater flow for both online and real time connectivity.

Whereas, private space is the place where one dwells within the quiet of one’s soul and the passions of one’s heart. To abuse the human heart through stereotypical architecture allotted to the impoverished sows the seeds of discontent, vanity and envy. The architecture used for the poor becomes a prison. Hope becomes a parasite that eats away at the human soul. Private space as sacred space then vanishes.

 The artist is a receptacle for emotions, regardless of whether they spring from heaven, from earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing face, or from a spider’s web ~  Pablo Picasso

Sustainable living space in the design of apartments, condominiums, homes and products must and will change…there will be less room for the wealthy to exploit and manipulate as capitalism itself begins to eat itself…cannibalistic tendencies are showing themselves now as there is never enough to feed human greed. The act of devouring will inevitably turn upon itself. This too is futile for the sake of humanity’s survival.

The metamorphosis of leadership will necessarily occur if humans are to survive. For the human soul demands a dwelling that achieves greater self-awareness from within and from the outside. Social and cultural responsibility in the design of our limited space, both public and private will have to occur for the environmental integrity of the planet.  As humans increasingly merge with their technologies the sacred design and use of our space will increase.

The shaping of architecture shapes the creator. Once space is designed people entering that space become an expression of that space. They are as creative and productive as the design of space will allow and conversely if the space is rigid in design the people will become so. To think outside the box is shaped by the adaptability of the box itself.

If human attitudes are shaped by the buildings they inhabit whether work, play or home, the architect of such buildings in effect becomes a socially responsible creator where freedom of self-expression is more equally realized.  The space we inhabit affects who and what we become, aiding and assisting, or abusing and defeating.

Architects have in the past replicated the given power structures in their designs but in the 21st century there will be an opportunity to assume a more profound leadership role beyond partisan politics. We are in the midst of disquiet. How adaptable we become in shaping our environment and the products we create will determine the nature of our existence.