The magic of Architecture

In relation with the opening ceremony of the Hungarian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2010, Peter Magyar writes about not only the installation ofthe two young architects, Andor Wesselenyi-Garay and Marcel Ferenc, but on the vivid and strong connections between architecture-line-music-science.

"Music and architecture force us, to transcend in thought, that which they would seem in reality, to imply;

They rest in the middle of this world like monuments of another world, Or like scattered instances of structure and time, which are not products of human beings, but of basic forms and laws." - Paul Valery

Another fitting insight by Lawrence Durell:

"The solace of such work as I do with brain and heart lies in this : that only there, in the silence of the painter or the writer, can reality be reordered, reworked and made to show it's significant side."

In order to attain those 'basic forms and laws', architects do exactly that: 'reorder and rework reality, and made to show it's significant side'.

-Yes, but how?

-With drawings!

To channel the drawings as a first degree differentiation of spirit to matter, is a frightening, but exhilarating experience. We begin with the blessed ignorance of a child and unwavering conviction of the initiated. Our dreams repeatedly elude us, allowing but glimpses of veiled images, the veiled images of our willed reality. If we struggle faithfully, as a miracle, some unremembered imprints occur. We carry not even conceived questions in us for days, -- then, as sudden relieve, shape is formed from cloudy thoughts.




Unlike in science, where the test of an idea is , when repeated acts of the same method produce the same results, in our profession we expect, that using the same way of inquiry, we can arrive to completely different results. Let me posit three notions:

Connotative, Cognitive and Volitive. They relate to feeling, thinking and will, respectively. It is possible, to unite thinking and feeling through will!

The will then is manifested with drawing!

Architecture is about love, about giving, about service and responsibility!

It deals with different degrees of ritualization of the public and private domains.

Explores, discovers, applies and celebrates the ideal and circumstantial conditions of sites,programs, cultures and technologies. it's ethical measure is societal usefulness.

Dr. Thomas Kuhn, in his book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, defines paradigms, as "some accepted examples of actual scientific practice, which include laws, theory, application and instrumentalization. They should be sufficiently unprecedented, and sufficiently open ended."

Architecture, as a discipline seems to contain these two characteristics, since most of our buildings supposed to be sufficiently unprecedented, and the design process is sufficiently open-ended. He obviously failed to mention architecture among the sciences, but had he done so, he would have categorized it, as one discipline in the pre-paradigm stage -- like psychology in it's early days, when Dr. Sigmund Freud and Dr. Karl Jung established their respective theories, based on detailed analysis of self-observation. These observations were descriptive, interpretive, but not yet normative. This non-normative status of our discipline will hopefully prevail, since the immeasurable aspects of our built environment are the ones, which elicit wonderment and awe, while the quantifiable is anticipated and noticed only in it's absence or incorrect presence (such as incorrect size or temperature).

We might not be far from the truth, if we use exactly the absence or presence of the immeasurable, as a distinctive qualifier between building and architecture.

Architects must aspire to go beyond the perfection and comfort of a "building", must attain the ability to produce "architecture"!

To reflect and invent the best of the present and weigh it's value in the future.

The present, however, seems to be an extremely illusory concept, it  transmutes itself, as we speak, into the past. So the comprehensive and operative application of the values of the past is called upon to assist in the invention of the future!

We have to obtain the competent ability to include the measurable requirements into the newly modified environment, but transcend and coagulate them to the intangible magic of Architecture.

We believe, that architecture is the highest manifestation of public art, since it unites the spatial and temporal aspects of art and affects one simultaneously in the visceral, cerebral and cosmic dimensions.

We reflect on, establish and internalize the constellation of attributes relevant to design both in their general, overarching status as well as in their particular, circumstantial mutations. --  Evoke, recognize, enhance and apply targeted intuition, to bring forth the germ of physical manifestation of an integrated universe, containing all the elements from the previous phase, ordered by ethical, epistemological and ontological hierarchies. -- Apply the selected societal and technological restrictions and opportunities, in order to communicate the condition of singularity. -- These three phases constitute the theoretical frames of research, design and design development of a particular project in architecture.

We aspire for the highest art of craft, by learning and practicing the craft of art!

Since the word: -craft - seem to play an important role in this statement, let's see, what it really means:

CRAFT as a noun is listed in the Oxford English Dictionary as: an activity involving skill in making things by hand.




So, after this meandering manifesto, we arrived to the actual subject matter of the exhibition in the Hungarian Pavilion of the Venice Biennale :


Ruth and Norman Moore professor of Architecture in Washington University and author of great books on Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Kahn, Robert McCarter wrote: " the hand-drawing is the place,  where thinking and making are joined together.....(it is) made by engaging tactile thought, allowing both the body and the eye to participate in shaping the spaces of inhabitation."

Consulting again the dictionary,

          DRAWING: a picture or a diagram made with a pencil or a pen (n)

          DRAW (v): produce a picture or a diagram by making lines and marks with a pencil.

Our two Young architects, Andor Wesselenyi-Garay and Marcel Ferencz, used ingeniously these two latter devices, the line, which according to Euclid, is a length without breadth, and the pencil, this one of the oldest and simplest tools of our trade. They established the ancestry of  the drawings in the exhibition, the drawings of nineteen Hungarian and twenty-two International architects. The exhibition recalls the elusiveness of Jean Cocteau's movie of 1949, Orpheus, where reality, almost unnoticeably, slips into the realm of dreams.

Please advance them the sign of your appreciation, then accompany us to have a glimpse in this realized "magic of Architecture".

Péter Magyar