Architects seek the genius loci, the spirit of the place. But places change, always. Is there a way to build in tune with the spirit of change? We need to give up single visions that are supposed to embrace social and place totalities. We live in overlapping nets rather than single places.
Architecture: New Places for New Peoples
Our task is the preservation of historic towns. In America as in Europe historic town centers are surrounded by recent additions and suburban sprawl. It is tempting to imagine the task of preservation as protecting our historical heritage from a featureless wave of mediocrity, as the worldwide commercial civilization overwhelms local cultures.
The talk starts with some remarks on the meanings of the word “bearing” as demeanor, relevance, orientation, and center. Then it talks about three changes that are decreasing the bearing of architecture. They are (1) the diminished central role of the architect in the building process, (2) the fragmentation of communities which decreases the importance of central buildings/monuments, and (3) the growing dematerialization of buildings, both in the sense of turning buildings into screens, the invasion of digital links to other real and virtual spaces, and smart buildings.