Reflections (Excerpts from an Indian American Museum / M. A. Gauthier)
Notion of visual structure & structural scale
Every evolution related to the ethnological dynamic is characterized by the progression of its structures rather than its elements. For example, a small insect visible only under a lens is more structurally complex than a rock crystal that can be multiplied to infinity. However, a several-ton elephant is less structured than a 200-pound man by the fact that man talks and adapts to different environmental situations.
This is directly related to a particular notion of scale. As an architects and designers, our direct approach to this notion is a spatial rapport between at least two structural elements, or parts of it. It seems that we are more sensitive to the direct representation of the image, of its materiality, of its global representation, particularly in first phase. We allow our vision to scan this element, and our perception can determine an evident connection among them linked by a complex structure: Its structural scale. By structural scale, we mean multiple elements attuned by a dynamic structure making a family, a coherent group.
This should manifest itself, if the result of our thoughts, in its visual representation: architecture. This concept of structure must be through the progression of the ideas of the project.
It is interesting to note that more and more in the current language and its evolution, architecture replaces structure, especially when we talk about information systems!
This structural scale is not only formal but also summarizes all parameters as ethnological, sociological, political etc…related to the design. This causal link will enhance, if the designer has the ability, with appropriate tools (human and scientific), to alter his own design. This structural scale is first of all the correlation of our thoughts, with cultural,sociological, etc., whatever input bringing to fruition our design. The value of the poetic idea appears in the structural representation. It will make its weakness or its strengths.
How can we control all this input? Considering aesthetics as a science of structures, we need to consider the study of order and, as well, disorder. “The life makes order from disorder of the inanimate world” Henry Laborit
In biology, the molecular complexity and its progression are driven by memory (DNA chain, etc.) It is at least as interesting in the architectural field to question ourselves on the role of our visual memory that sweeps from one element to another, giving consciously and unconsciously a visual structure to the element. We must remember that our memory is more powerful than our vision; the power of image. Regardless, it is the admission that we deal with a volatile memory.
The fact has unfortunately served the worst purposes. Nazi propaganda used it widely in occupied zones. Every movie was split by a number of images per second using Nazi symbols, short enough that the eye could not catch it but long enough that the subconscious memory recorded it. Today, this process is referred to as subliminal advertising...
Relationship between structural scale & structural element: the role of the detail
It is interesting to analyze in architecture the constant relationships between structural scale and a structural element, more concretely, the dialogue between material and detail, and detail to the structural element.
The detail is not just a finality that we begin to draw at the end of a project. If in the course of research, we begin the process of designing details, then the dialogue with structural element should be initiated.
In general, details acts as a micro-structure. Details are no longer a result or final touch, rather an outcome from an exchange of diverse information between structural element and details that give meaning to the act of design. As a practitioner, these micro structures are no longer resulting from a powerful, strong concept of the peripheral element. The relation between one and the other acts as a perpetual communication; a boomerang effect altering the major by the minor and vice versa.
After all, why is the detail an ineducable result of the major structure element, of a Party? This concept gives to us a different approach toward Party: academic concept from the Beaux-Arts School materializing The Major Idea, the backbone of the project. I have personally considered this approach to be extremely dangerous, and rather presumptuous. It is to say that by using this commonly accepted approach in our profession we are playing “heads and tails” every time we use it.
Borrowing from a cybernetic science, art is an idea pursued by several artists (i.e. Pevsner, etc…) and is an effective tool when studying urban phenomena. However, what makes an interesting path for the practice of architecture is not cybernetic itself; cybernetic is a direct venue of biology, which is ultimately responsible for our universal development. Detail is not only a 50% technical, 50% esthetically solution resolving a connection for technological, functional or ergonomic purposes. It is the achievement of the input-output concept of design, an echo to the main structure, a semantic expression. It will give birth to the mysterious and the sacred, or not!
H crushed to death our Home
Haze spreads over Humanity
Heart defiant still Healing
Crystal clear drop
Roll over the moss
On the velvet
Rose petal drop
Iridescent caresses sparkle
Nest under the sun-ray
On the pleats
napping faithful love sparkle