Architect and Maker

14 March, 2019

"Material culture represents at once ideas that have been made materials, and natural substance that has been rendered cultural."  Julian Thomas, Archeologist

The two lines I have drawn are pathways of movement.  On the left is the flow of consciousness, experienced by a human living in their world.  When they stop to perceive, they experience an image, a fixed moment in the world filtered through their senses.  On the right is the flow of materials, atoms and things traveling around the world and when they're formed into a thing, they are an object ready to be perceived.  These two simple lines explain the process an Architect and a Maker move back and forth endlessly between fixed images and objects frozen in a particular time.  And the image and the object are constantly moving.  In a given moment, our particular perception maybe optical, it may be haptic, the material maybe clay, it maybe stone.

At the Architecture Workshop we make projects.  We start with an idea of what we want to achieve, and with the supply of raw materials needed to explain and achieve it.  When the material has taken our intended final form, we have made an object.  Other people can then perceive that object, and if it successful, there maybe many 1000's of different flows of consciousness perceiving at the object on social media simultaneously, or scores of people perceiving the object haptically visiting the building in person.  As a creative person, we have moulded in our minds a piece of Green Cumbrian slate to become a table top for a restaurant.  But we haven't completed this alone, the maker is also present in helping us to achieve this - the maker is amongst the flow of materials.  Their bodies and techniques are as important as the Cumbrian Green Slate sample.  The material is what she or he has to work with.  Their tools join forces with the Slate and their knowledge enables them to split, cut, tear, pull, carve what our design intended.  Sometimes, they are unable to make what we intended because the Architect doesn't have the intimate knowledge that the maker does.  Our 90cm depth table must now become 80cm because that is the maximum extraction size from the quarry.  Things change, the object changes.  The craftsperson making the table intervenes in the flow of materials and makes the intended object.  The form is released from the quarry and the image perceived by the Architect is made.

The flows of consciousness and the flows of materials are constantly moving and are different for everybody.  The images they perceive are different.  What I may perceive as a beautiful table now hand crafted, someone else may not agree.  The human involvement in the generation of form in our projects is critical, you have to work with the correct people, who understands your difficult brief.   If you have a design for a thing, you don't have the thing yet.  It is a representation of the thing.  The makers makes the thing real, because they possess the skills you do not.  The makers is the most important person working on our projects.  Their flows of consciousness must be similarly aligned to ours for the flow of materials to behave in the way we would like.  If all my objects I ever make are prefigured in my mind and drawings then why bother making them?  The processes the makers go through and who they deliver the object for your to perceive is the Architecture.