One range less
Header image, “no title”, Frieder Nake, 1967.
In mathematics, a matrix is defined as the set of algebraic numbers or symbols placed in horizontal and vertical lines arranged in the form of a rectangle. This is an information unit capable of containing a finite amount of data and that has its range as one of the main characteristics (maximum number of columns that are linearly independent).
Thus, we find matrices of different ranks. We can remember how matrices could be associated to space according to their range. Matrices of range two that allow us to recognize two-dimensional spaces (X, and Y), or matrices of range three that allow us to recognize three-dimensional spaces (X, Y and Z), although in mathematics there can exist matrices up to infinite range…
By making another effort, we can also dive into our high school memories and remember that there were transformations of matrices that allowed us to alter their rank, always in descending order. Having a range 4 matrix, we can operate to transform it into the equivalent of range 3, this, in turn, can be operated to transform it into its equivalent of range 2. However, in this decreasing transformation one thing always happens: There is a loss of information.
No matter how much we want to adjust ourselves or how we do it, the matrix resulting from decreasing the range can never be operated in such a way as to obtain the original.
Where 2 eat, do 13 eat?
It is in this context that we now begin to think about our field, and we ask ourselves, have we reached a point where we are producing architecture of lesser value than that produced a century ago? Who is to blame?
It seems that the answer to this second question is given by context: The “titulitis”. Although it is a different title, fruit of the concern of our parents to have a better future. We are children of an era in which it was thought that by having a university degree – no matter what the field, perhaps some with more facilities than others, but all always valid – a better life would be achieved. Professional training was thus discredited, and then we come to this point where we see how between the lack of interest, and the pressure of the economy, we are at a time when craftsmanship may become extinct, although that is a better subject to leave for another day.
Today we want to focus on all those many sons and daughters of the university, of our field, architects, who have gone out every year to find a world that does not seem to be able to feed us all.
At least, that’s what it looks like, is it reinventing itself?
Architecture of a lesser range?
Like those matrices, it seems that the way we can try to feed ourselves is by lowering the “rank” of architecture. Since we can’t build, why not just think and leave those reflections written? A priori even seems to be an option that can further nourish that culture we crave so much. It can even be good. Does it have a bad part?
When matrices reduced their rank, information was always lost. Are we witnessing something similar in our field? The works are limited to the reality of paper, which supports everything. We can explore impossible concepts and forms, nurture our culture, but we should always do that being aware that there is something unreal about it. Impossible. Lies.
Because the architecture that remains on paper cannot be experienced. It doesn’t matter how realistic the render is, or how the virtual reality glasses may try to fool us. You are not going to feel those spaces until they are built, and feeling the space is what gives it value, intensity, feeling.
Faced with this lack of reality, we are obliged to transmit sensations with our architectures of a lesser range on paper. We enter fully into the world of art – or rather, advertising -. We get to that moment in which the important thing is not how that space feels, but rather how to sell it.
Fast food dynamics, little dedication to understand the projects, and more hours to choose the range of colors and Photoshop brushes than the reflection that is done on the place or site. In the end, in many cases this is nothing more than an image with a certain eagerness for protagonism that tries to conquer the jury for being the most booming -although at least they shout in the tones of the place-. But hey! That’s good, because at least we can continue to eat from these ideas contests, even if the feast is a McDonald’s hamburger for having produced an architecture of glitter that lacks depth.