Do we use correctly the language the architects? | Stepienybarno

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The architects we have playing a determinant paper in the construction of our cities, but the communication of what we have done, it has not been the most suitable. The effort for coming to the company that enjoys or suffers our architecture has been scanty.

Why when certain architects speak they there is not understood practically anything of what they want to say? And what happens when a person foreign to the architecture hears speaking to the architects “about his things”?

Saving Le Corbusier's museums – Getty Conservation Institute launches special workshop | CLAD: Museums & Heritage
Saving Le Corbusier’s museums – Getty Conservation Institute launches special workshop | CLAD: Museums & Heritage

For whom it is not of our union, we remember1 that the architects we are not born so pedantic as then one sees us. The problem is that, during the career, through the fault of an absurd habit of speaking in an as complex as possible way, we turn one a bit unbearable.

The philosopher Daniel Innerarity in a celebrated congress, some time ago, in Vitoria was affirming that

“the philosophers take the reality that the whole world understands and complicate it in such a way that when they turn it to counting nobody knows about what they are speaking”.

So with some architects, probably it happens slightly very similarly. To many, it is charmed with speaking about metalanguages and about hybridizations of the complexity post estructuralista.

In end, which already from the career we like to give him to the chitchat and to speak in order that we are not understood; thinking that so that we say is more interesting. Hereby, one tries to endorse the idea that removes in hands, with the consequent danger of which the project remains turned into a more or less ingenious and complex history, without anything more substantial where to be able to push in the tooth.

Nevertheless, comments Emili Donato,

“the architecture neither is, nor behaves as a language; it does not explain, neither narrates histories, nor offers arguments and if it does it it will do the ridiculous one. The architecture treats topics and presences that express ideas or values of a very general way and always directly, without literary or discursive mediations”.  

This concept goes of the hand of the platonic exposition, which already was warning us that the language exists and demonstrates in an alone direction and can play with his temporality, whereas the space works in all the directions and his time is always it was doing ahead. For what, the correlation between both is more complicated of what in a beginning could seem. In spite of it, the architects we mist ourselves in narrating what the architecture should be counting for her itself.

And the worse thing of everything is not that we speak what courts us for the head while the project appears, the worse thing is that, in many cases, we cannot make concrete these ideas to words that are understandable. Also it is true that, it is impossible “to “translate” what we have imagined (evidently, without words), so, for very well that we do, in the same instant that let’s let’s want to catch and to verbalize already we will be losing at least a part of his essence.

Also it is interesting to know how they see us from out; in this sense, Emilio Luque comments,

“the formation of the architects leads them to wanting to seduce, to convince, or to amaze with other architects. They speak and write rematadamente badly, among other things because they know that opposite to an A0 always they can indicate a constructive detail, a gathering, one of these charming cartographies that replace often a genuine investigation, and receives the golden assent architect who murmurs “already I see, already I see”. So not, the citizens we do not see.

We need other languages to be convinced, to articulate of more complex and interesting form the problems in which the architect intervenes, almost always with terrible good will.”

When the architect faces a not learned public in the discipline in what language does he speak to them? We think that unfortunately there is had certain trend to speak “in architect”… Nevertheless, the architects we have to return to learn to speak “in human being”, in order that those that “they do not see”, could understand us, at least.

But what understands an individual who has the innocent pretension to a little house be done by his porch and his swimming pool, when the architect, dam of his instincts, delights him with a language that him is totally foreign? What will think about the architect when this one starts with phrases of court endogámico type:

“the building will stay out of scale”,

or the typical one

“this way both volumes can begin a dialog between yes”,

or not less habitual

“his one is the form of which the architecture remains deeply rooted and fights to the soil”.

Much we are afraid, that these comments will not do another thing that to make think to the client who thinks before “the artist of shift”, that he will handle the savings of all his life (past and future), in a too happy and irresponsible way.

Even this way, it is not necessary to take the reason from Einstein when it was affirming that the things have to explain in an as simple as possible way, but not more. For it, it has even more merit when the architect who has given response to a very complex situation with his architecture, is capable of explaining this one in a simple way.

Carlos Puente remembers his that

“it is known well, that turns out to be easier to use a language complicated to explain the simple things, that to explain with simple words what is complicated.

For the prestige that the darkness, as residue of the power exercised by the culture, shows opposite to the clarity, it is even difficult to find the simplicity explained of a simple way!”

Already San Agustín was saying it,

“in the simplicity the virtue is”;

And in the language it could not be different, but with the particularity that often we believe ourselves with certain domain of the words, and in general, as was saying Luque, the architects we are not specially endowed for it (though this one designs any more of one seem to her to be ridiculous). Mentioning Heidegger,

“The man behaves as if he was the counterfeiter and the owner of the language, when it is this one, and it it has been always, which is a gentleman of the man. When this relation of dominion is invested, the man falls down in strange machinations”.

On the other hand, in many occasions, it will be the media projection of the project what makes appear an architectural language, often riddled with spectacular metaphors. For putting one of the multiple examples of metaphors a posteriori, we can rescue of the recollection the project of the Museum of Cantabria of Tuñón and Mansilla and the assimilation of his lucernarios to the distant Cantabrian mountains that are seen in the horizon.

It is curious, that independently of that the project is better or worse, which can do that really it goes out forward is that it is understandable and communicable for the politician of shift. Because this one is different, these metaphors are not thought in order that the company understands better how it is the project. They appear for a question of survival of the same one; in order that someone who does not want to use a lot of time of understanding nothing, has a good holder for the press. 

What is clear, is that our public buildings often are riddled with excessive histories, justifications and metaphors. But

perhaps do they matter for the one who them will live all this fllood of words of the architect? 

The response is not. So, the projected building will have to talk for yes same with the user to be capable of provoking a really inhabitable world in him.

Stepienybarno_Agnieszka Stepien and Lorenzo Barnó, architects
Estella, August 2017

Article published originally in the Platform of La Ciudad Viva.


Article that it condenses written in The language of the architects (I) and (II) 

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