Architecture and Chaos | José Ramón Hernández Correa

I have just read a good phrase of Rem Koolhaas in the blog Cosas de Arquitectos. The holder says:

“The architecture for definition is a chaotic adventure”.

The phrase completes I do not copy it in order that this way you do a visit to these boys, who deserve it, (Frasecica).

To do architecture is to coordinate aspects that at first are not coordinables, and it is to give field to many diverse solicitations. I agree with what Koolhaas says, only that I would use as conclusion (and to title) practically contradicts it: The architecture is an adventure that always fights against the chaos.

Maxwell Smart, Superagent 86 |

That loses? It costs, also we, all, we spend the life to ourselves fighting against the death and ultimately we lose. The life is a mortal disease, and the architecture is a chaotic adventure that ends up by sinking in the chaos. Yes, in agreement. But it is an extraordinary shipwreck, fruit of the conviction of which one can and it is necessary to to fight.

It is what gives him grace and sense to the adventure. We feel tragic, unamunianamente, the life. We are afraid to dying, to disappearing without leaving anything, to stopping being. But because of it same we stick to the life and enjoy it. If we were not dying sense would never ma anything; everything would be a boredom.

For the same motive, if our world was a tidy entity it would not have why to do architecture, since it us would come quite given, and any chabolo (or any heap of utensils) placed and arranged anyhow would be harmonious and beautiful, useful and functional, and his proportions, dimensions and different characteristics would be always pleasing.

But it is not like that. The entropy is a puñetera. (It is a puñetera and at the same time an estimuladora and an entusiasmadora. It is the one that makes us jump of the bed every morning and throw to the daily fight).

Another poem of the gifts, of Jorge Luis Borges, it begins this way:

El Otro poema de los dones, de Jorge Luis Borges, comienza así:

Thank you I want to give to the divine

labyrinth of the effects and of the reasons

for the diversity of the creatures

that form these singular universe,

for the reason, which will not stop dreaming

of a plane of the labyrinth,


The universe is the inextricable one (and divine) labyrinth of reasons and effects, but the human being will never give up dreaming of a plane of the labyrinth, and working duramente to draw it.

Maybe in many centuries only there is capable of cartografiar a couple of drafts or bends, but he will not lose heart before the enormous work that he still has, but it will celebrate to have recognized these two drafts, and to be always ready to decipher the following one, though it takes another millenium to him.

This it is the human condition.

In architecture, not only a work has to fight against thousand difficulties, and never triumphs completely and almost partially, but rarely that works out more or less airy gets up in the middle of a hostile environment ever. (How many times we have been going in peregrination to see a mythical work and we have been her almost covered by a concessionaire of cars or for a restaurant of snack food, which the photographers of architecture avoid skilfully?). Already it is not that we could not do a good work of architecture: It is that we cannot change the world.

And nevertheless we continue.

I have put before a link to the concept “entropy” of the wikipedia, and I have surprised (and pleased specially) that the word comes from the Greek “evolution” or “transformation”. I already knew that it was a measure of the disorder, and that was an energy that does not produce work, a useless energy, a bagpipe. And in addition it means the irreversibility of the processes and, definitively, the tragedy of the life (The Tragic Feeling of the Life). But what was not waiting for me (but, for the rest, it is obvious) is that it itself was the evolution or the transformation.

Bruno Zevi, cordial odiador of symmetries and of rigid schemes in architecture, wrote that only the cemeteries are tidy. I add that “perfect” it means “finished” and, in many senses, dead man.

Therefore, blessed disorder and blessed blemish. (And furthermore: Blessed zeal to fight always against the disorder and against the blemish. And furthermore still: Blessed curse of being defeated always in this zeal).

The above mentioned thing: a tragedy without solution.

This blog has a readers’ profile insultantemente young. It is not bad of his, but it forbids them to have known, for example, Maxwell Smart, the Superagent 86.

Don Adams como Maxwell Smart y Barbara Feldon como la Agente 99 | 1965
Don Adams as Maxwell Smart and Barbara Feldon as the Agent 99 | 1965 |

I will tell all of them (pobrecillos) that this formidable secret agent was fighting against the evil. The evil was residing in the agency KAOS, and he militaba in CONTROL.

It is: Control against Kaos.

The superagent always was winning, but pichís pichás. It is not that they were resounding victories, almost always they were pírricas, and also ridiculous.

Or, that now, after so many years, I realize that Maxwell Smart was the symbol of the architecture, his more ardent metaphor. Not, if ultimately it turns out that I decided to be an architect for his fault.

José Ramón Hernández Correa
PhD Architect and author of Arquitectamos locos?
Toledo · september 2013

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