Past and Present Architecture

Past and Present Architecture

March 2013

The contemporary age has effected remarkably the mindset of building within architecture. It is evident how the new outcome of architectural expressions marks an evident detachment of visual and functional values compared to the past.

Pictures from magazines, unexpected views of modern cities and the large demand of the consumer oriented society prompt changes and different solutions. However links with the previous times persist in the way the architectural design defines its scope. It is possible to wear sophisticated and glamorous clothes, but on the other hand the first concept of human need holds its irreplaceable position.

I would spot a controversial hallmark of the contemporary architecture. Buildings, houses, social spaces rework and improve germinal and timeless ideas of mankind, but they do not define an identity of well-defined characteristics. Consequently the endless innovation keeps basically its own experimentation of spaces and techniques. The novelty appears alongside the uncertainty of a definitive language.  A possible explanation to this character might be identified in the loss of social and physical barriers among countries. It is undeniable that the global and free market influences widespread product and thus the culture from all over the world. Consequently the styles, once defined in the identity of a national land, blend and evolve continuously their expressions. Western countries design and build for eastern people; vice versa, old and confined tradition of the East broaden and relativise the strict rules of the classical and modernist system. In conclusion eclecticism may summarise the steady research of the contemporary construction.

Nevertheless, one single point might be attributed only to the present architecture. The past conveys the custom and deeds of a civilization, layers of people who were projected to hand their living message down through the future generations. Temples, palaces, squares and churches spread out their existence against the degradation of weather. They tell their story by a codex of the established tradition. By contrast, modern settlements, museums, bridges and skyscrapers develop their materiality over the concept of collective use. They have been designed to grow and to live in the present. They gather every last historic, artistic and technological evolution to satisfy their current standing. They could be ready to challenge the duration in the space and time, but as they are assembled quickly, just as quickly may be dismantled. In fact, wherever a contemporary architecture is arranged, it is neither the background, nor the framework of a visitor vision; conversely, the contemporary building just accomplishes and nourishes the ephemeral passage of people for the time of its service.

Francesco Ciccarelli