Michael A. Vuksta
I want my students to enjoy architecture. The prevalence of buildings in the urban environment can desensitize and trivialize what is our most natural form of public art. It is necessary to consider this factor in assessing a child’s expectations about what architecture means. A strategy for expanding upon them is essential to prevent them from becoming limitations. I am not concerned that they already know what the word means; but when the words building and art are mentioned I am certain that I will not be confronting an empty slate.
After experimenting with architectural concepts in my photography classes, I decided it would be necessary to achieve four objectives in my future class on architecture. First, I wanted to present architecture as the complex and multidisciplinary art that it is. I had no desire to subordinate its various elements and its unique logic to the requirements of another discipline. Secondly, I wanted the students to be in a variety of architectural places and spaces. This personal encounter with architecture would precede the viewing of slides or illustrations in texts. These types of investigations would follow from interests generated at the sites. They would be presented with a broad view of architecture and would be encouraged to make choices in selecting further areas of study. Finally, I wanted students to create meaningful and expressive products that were a reflection of their understanding of the previous activities. I wanted to liberate creative expression rather than imitate or limit it.
Buildings are to be viewed as more than meeting the demands of functional criteria. The architect, in his act of organizing and orchestrating spaces, must attempt to go beyond the needs of shelter and the requirements of construction to achieve a quality that invites inhabitation and strives for permanence. Artistic expression in architecture is the desire to communicate ideas about the nature of human activities, not simply to house them. These ideas and associations reveal the architect’s mind, not as the mere organizer of manual tasks, but as the creator of conceptual universes.
The words imagination, choice, freedom, and order are some words in the architectural vocabulary that qualify these spaces. This essay will explore others.