Put soul into the body

November 16, 2013


I have read The Mutant Body of Architecture by George Teyssot, an introduction to Flesh: Architectural probes, by Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofido.

I was struggling through the text and I don’t really know if I completely understand it, but I think I know why I was struggling. To me it felt like a lot in the text was presented as objects. The comparison between the human and the machine made both the human and the machine to appear as objects. A body is an object and a human itself is a subject. To talk about the human body, and not the soul, makes the discussion about objects. To pick off the subject and instead talk about an object made ​​me frustrated. I don’t mean that it was Tessot’s intension to make it about objects, but it was how I perceived it.

For most people it’s evident that human beings aren’t objects. It’s the opposite, we are subjects. Unfortunately there are many times when I wonder where people have put their respect. Time after time. In the media, in the law, etc. people presents as objects. It’s the ones who present that picture that is soulless. You can be an object.

What about buildings? Often when I tell people that I’m an architect the reaction is “okay, you’re an architect. Then you’re building houses!”. A reaction that indicates that they mean I create objects. Are buildings objects? Buildings are just material. Wood, stones, metal, concrete, bricks, plaster. Walls, floor, windows, doors, roofs. Is that true? Could it be someting more? For me it is. Much more.

What is it that makes it so evident that humans are subjects but buildings are not? If you look at humans as subjects ant buildings as objects it would mean the relationship between them are unidirectional. The human are aware of her/him self and one’s surrounding. Buildings give something back. Even if a building doesn’t think, it affects us more than just giving us protection from weather and wind. It has impact on how we feel and how we act. The relationship is therefore not unidirectional at all. Then, for certain, even the building should be a subject. Just like the human buildings have souls.

As an architect you have to be aware of the buildings soul. You must think about it. You must see on every little piece of architecture as a subject. Don’t just look at it as a body. Look at it as a body with a soul. It’s not only about that the rooms around us affect us, it’s also about how we present our work. How they present by others. How we talk about architecture. If one say something over and over, at last it will be true. If one omits the subject too many times it will disappear. In the end it will not only concern the subject of the building, but also about the subject of the human. We can’t walk around on this earth as empty bodies.

elsa jannborg


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