I think many designers, yours truly included, are scared of pure sculptural forms.

It is a somewhat commonly accepted statement that architecture – is a “rational art”. This is one of our strongest differences from other arts, which do not – normally – make claims to rationality. We, architects, have a lot of strategies for coming up with forms for buildings and justifying them – rationally. However, exactly because there are so many “rationalistic” ways of form-making – and we are so used to using them – we are sometimes paralyzed when we are confronted with the necessity of coming up with a pure sculptural form.

If one trusts his/her instincts and inner impulses and just comes up with something, he/she risks producing something tasteless or ugly (from others’ point of view, at least) – without any means of rational justification/defense. It is incredibly easy to miss if you are shooting for a pure form as, although it can bring personal aesthetic satisfaction, it might be deemed useless by the broader society – with plenty of examples in art, Vincent van Gogh being probably the classical one. In rare cases, someone might come up with a form that is generated by pure inner aesthetic drive, but still resonates with the majority of the population (Gehry?). This is very rare – and that is why there are only that many real artists. Most of us are not like that – or at least don’t dare/trust to think of ourselves that highly. However, we are still in this profession and cannot allow ourselves to fail controlling forms. So we start inventing and post-rationalizing, running from the pure aesthetic, out-of-the-blue, sculptural form, anxious to justify/secure whatever we are doing.

Does this make any sense?

However, I would argue that, in the end, as architects – or artists – we MUST trust our aesthetic drives and learn to deal with pure form which comes from within. Because that’s the real us! Interestingly enough, this is exactly the “school” I am going  through right now – trying to come up with a form on a purely aesthetic basis, with no function or particular reason for it to be this or that. Learning to trust myself. And you know what: I never realized how hard it would be…

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