Every architect has a particular design line, a specific way to express to the world its architecture style, but when it comes to explaining our projects, we all seem to follow the same language patterns.
Metaphors tend to be our strongest allies. We use an intellectualized language that goes beyond the actual meaning of words. Each of the phrases we use to describe a project, have an abstract value that combines emotions and symbolism with the true connotation of words.
We have decided, even inadvertently, to set some predefined phrases, and recite them in each attempt to explain our projects. It is these phrases that we use as reference when trying to describe to someone any building we have designed. “Flow of space“, “movement in facades“… They’re just a well-assembled group of words that can mean many things. That is why two completely different buildings, can be described in the exact same way.
Much has been said about the fact that the language in architecture is something inherent in the object, and that statement could not be clearer. The interpretation of a building must be done through what it represents, through its image. A building should be able to describe itself. It should not hide behind a well grouped and beautifully expressed bunch of words, to tell the world who it is.
It should never explicitly say:
“I am a basket factory”
but it must be able to convey its essence:
“I am an office tower”
“I am a sports facility“
“I am a parking building”
and never say:
“I can be any type of building“
In a well-designed building, the rest of the words become unnecessary the minute people walk inside it and are able to perceive the emotions that the architect gave to the spaces.
One of the things I remember the most about my University years, is the continued insistence of my teachers that I should simplify my projects… “eliminate unnecessary parts“.
If we architects already have this training (product of modernism), which implores us to simplify and summarize, then we should be able to choose two or three words that describe the project, instead of constructing elaborate and complicated speeches on each and every one of the spaces of the building.
Architecture is itself a language, there is no need to create a parallel dialect to explain the language of architecture, because then we would be redundant.
Each building must have a soul, one that will be given at the time that the architect is preparing to begin the design process. That soul lives, beats, breathe and is (or should be) able to convey to the world what the building is.