Extreme Architecture

excerpt Building materials, their textures and colors could also be the keys of an instrument on which the architect can "play" some cool music. Natural materials – earth, first of all, from clay to ceramic, but also stone, or wood – are here, waiting for us to come to our senses. They're waiting for us, architects, to stop being salespersons of a brainless, space-infecting industry which makes plenty of cement and concrete until we cannot get rid of it. Why must we pour concrete over the Danube Delta when we can build good houses on wood and stone foundations, just like we always did? Why must we pour concrete over the mountain when wood and stone are right there, under our eyes, blinded by the "light" of a defunct modernity? The questions above are rhetorical anywhere else but Romania and other banana-growing countries. As the one who wrote the architectural normative provisions for the Danube Delta, I know very well the resistance anyone comes across when causing a crisis for a "tradition" wrongly built on the basis of a "modernization" ideology, whose gangrened form was embodied by the communist period. I also know how amazed my colleagues are when they discover the modulating virtues of the earth and how the proximity of a fortress, such as the one from Argamum (CapeDoloşman, Jurilofca), raises, after two thousand years of proud resistance, the same questions as I do here. In a way, this text is an indirect homage brought to the Romanian Habitat and Art Foundation, and to all those who have been gradually teaching us, for the past few summers, and almost against the will of those for whom such experiments rediscover their own traditions, that our architecture has to change to fit with – or to stand against, whenever necessary – the place and climate. If the place and climate become extreme, so should our built environment re-consider itself. If critical thinking has disappeared, killed by the fascination with the production of useless technology, it has to be re-invented.

Dilema veche, 23-29 August 2007

by Augustin Ioan