I recently wrote an article on “the fun theory”, an initiative of Volkswagen raising the possibility of producing positive changes in human behavior through fun. They propose to add, to everyday objects, a surprise element, causing a reaction on people and taking them out of their daily routine.

From my point of view, this is an awakening to the changes of mankind. The speed with which we live has made us zombies that move, always forward, but without stopping before the small and beautiful details of life. This initiative aims to make of our daily life a more fun one, which forces us to take breaks.

The article ends with a question: why not take a step forward in the profession and make our job as architects more fun? This question left me thinking about THE question: what is fun architecture? I try to imagine it and all I can think of are bizarre images, as the ones of explicit theme park buildings, which reflect a little (or a lot) the concept of “speaking architecture.” Even worse, by placing the words “fun architecture” in my internet browser, wishing to be surprised by images that helped me on my hunt for answers, I just got scared with a couple of strange buildings.

I have always defended architecture without excess, without going so far as many minimalist architects, which sometimes exceed in the “lack of elements” but the theme of “the fun theory” produced in me a larger conflict than I would have wanted.

When I think about the buildings that have been most important to me and my career as an architect, the Barcelona Pavilion by Mies Van der Rohe comes to my mind. I can think of many words to describe it: sublime, clean, simple, unique … I could go on forever, without ever being able to say that it is fun. And now that I analyze it, I think that is a little sad. Why cannot describe architecture as fun? Why not make fun architecture? But above all things, how to make fun architecture? I need answers…

I know how strange it must be for the people reading this essay right now, to imagine me trying to define Mies as fun. I am not; I know that not every building can be fun as not everybody can have the same profession, but I think we should give some spark to our projects, make them shine a little more brightening the lives of those who are there to enjoy them.

I want to be able to give life to buildings and to transmit that life to its inhabitants; I want to surprise without frightening; I want to be able to produce smiles no laughter; I want to see my happiness reflected in my creations…

But, how to make fun architecture without compromising the architecture “style” that I have always defended? I have no answer yet, and that doubt have taken away my sleep…

Advertisements