WHAT IS ARCHITECTURE IN 2014

I am an architect.
I have been an architect for 50 years, designing buildings, cities and furniture, monuments and posters, the national flag and gardens, cemeteries and public squares.
I have been teaching future architects to do the same things, hopefully better than me.
I have enjoyed doing my work every day, from morning until night and from Monday to Monday.
I feel enormously privileged because I am paid for doing what I like to do.
Why do I like what I do?
I think it is because I can see what I think, and see it built and inhabited by people and enjoyed by people. Lived by people.
It is also because, when I go about my city or around the world, I see buildings that are so beautiful, so well fitted in the landscape and in the city, so comfortable and so inspiring that it gives me a strong drive to achieve the same quality in what I design.
Architecture is this door, this path and this way to fulfil the need to express oneself through tangible realisations.
That is my relationship with architecture.
What is architecture, independently of my relationship with it?
Man, civilised man, need to be protected from the forces of nature, from other men, from animals.
Man needs shelter.
Man needs a family and a family needs a home.
Man needs to work, to worship, to study, to be treated in hospitals, to watch performances and sports, to buy things, to move from place to place, to rest in peace.
People are born everyday and every day new houses, restaurants, offices, hospitals, churches, factories, are needed.
It is the architect who design them and help to build them.
That is the relationship of people with architecture.
What is architecture, independently of people’s relationship with it?
Shelter: the house and the hospital, the shopping centre and the mosque, the office building and the factory, are shelters and, as buildings, they must be designed and built.
Buildings are designed by architects, supervised by architects, changed and restored by architects.
Buildings are built from technical choices made by architects, with materials selected by architects, painted with colours chosen by architects and respond to sounds and smells controlled by architects.
Buildings use energy in more or less economical ways according to the way architects design them.
Buildings let in more or less daylight and fresh air as best as the architect design them to do so.
That is the technology that we use to make the buildings we design.
What is architecture beyond building technology?
The dimensions of man, both physical and psychological, the sky and the form of the land and of the sea, the night, the sun and the wind, the shadows and the cold, the Winter and the Spring, the flight of the bird and the buzz of the insect, the other person and the loved persons are the true materials and motivation of invention, the essence of the architectural universe.
If this is the universe and the essence of architecture what, then, is architecture in this universe?
I have been looking for this answer for the last 50 years.
I have not found it yet, but the search has filled my life with profound interest and motivation to keep searching.
You should do the same.

JOSÉ FORJAZ

2014