by Claudio Silvestrin
I have been educated to believe that being an architect is a vocation, just as it is a vocation to be a priest. I have been educated to believe that architecture is the most complete form of art, bridging man and nature, earth and sky, god and mortals. I have believed, and still do, that architecture is composing poetry on earth in partnership with the earth; that architecture has the role of transmitting the emotion of matter, space, light and water. .
I think the most popular contemporary construction nowadays is the exaltation of perverse and simplistic forms, reflecting a union that is neurotic and narcissistic, ignoring five thousand years or more of history. Modern man feels that he is the centre of the universe; his arrogance and vanity demand constructions that are in fact mirrors. The powerful man and the neurotic man subconsciously recognize themselves in the high-tech style, in sensationalist and deconstructive architecture.
One must be blind or asleep not to notice: we are a materialistic civilisation of institutionalised, perverse forms. It is a real disaster: the forms of contemporary construction have separated from the stars. The clearest paradox, represented by religious buildings, is the most saddening. These edifices are sensationalistic, self-gratifications in reinforced concrete; they have ceased to be spaces for God and have become places for man.
It is not a matter of right or wrong but of acknowledging and being aware of this, in order to make decisions that embody firm principles. The contemporary architect is fortunate that he or she has the freedom of choice, a responsible choice.
One should ask: is architecture the expression of a deepening thought or is it a non-critical conformity? Questioning does not mean going against evolution and progress; on the contrary, serious questioning can bring a contribution to awaken the sensitivity of man towards an evolution that is not only technological and materialistic but a total evolution that is simultaneously material and spiritual, modern and archaic, anthropological and ecological.
(in ARKITEKTON n. 14, September 2004)