The failed projects of modernism and post-modernism leaves a theoretical void. More specifically the author takes issue with the apparent purposelessness of architecture. At the outset of this project the author ventured a Faustian attempt at relevance. Appendix A is a speculative description of architecture as a market deliverable - a consumer product. It proposes a design method adapted to a production-line view of architectural production. In this view the architect is an integrator of ideas, constraints, processes, implications - his main deliverable is a drawing. However, during the course of researching and designing this scheme even these sentiments were found not to be watertight. Inevitably the discourse degenerated into questions of poetics and spontaneity, character and meaning, liveliness and above all - Design. The term ‘design’ mentioned here refers to the same idea encountered among pre-graduate architectural students and lay-people - consumers of architectural pornography. Design in the sense: “Can you add some design to our house. Design in the sense: “No, it doesn’t matter if it works or not - I just want to know what it’s going to look like”. The architect is the queerly dressed individual with dark-framed glasses always dressed in black - a designer, a critic, a satirist, an esoteric. At the 2005 UIA congress in Istanbul Peter Eisenmann prophesied the end of this concept of the role of architecture. Our fascination with the ocular - the image - came to a climax with 9/11. Assuming a cyclic trend he predicts that the importance of the visual spectacle will wane (Sobuwa, 2005). It is clear therefore that selling architecture to the free-market gives us a profession that is relevant but not essential. The architect is a fashion designer - his most valuable asset is his opinion packaged in reputation. His career is built on benevolent clients, dedicated to the cause of ‘good architecture’, which he meets through ‘contacts’. Here is a movement away from art - which uses a moral language to describe itself - pure forms, honest use of materials, truth, god is in the... etc - and therefore unfit for the free market (since money still resides outside moral good despite Ayn Rand’s every effort) - towards craft - which is fundamentally a method. The architect therefore does not ask why?, or in what manner? but how? The architectural craft, the acquisition of which is deemed to be the main quest of tertiary architectural education is then appropriated as a design method. This design method is a system of sequential activities manifesting nonsequential thinking and can be graphically expressed as in Figure 1. The project presented here is an attempt to apply this method.
Dissertation (MArch (Prof))--University of Pretoria, 2007.