Friday, February 06, 2015


I have always been fascinated by knives, the clear purpose of blade, as an implement to part, cleave, sever.  Designed to held by hand and deployed by a stoking motion. Stylized and fashioned over time, and yet the the purpose built directness of knife is a joy when encountered. One that does its job perfectly, a balance of shape, weight and  proportion. So a sugar cane stripper, in a village in Bengal completely had me.

I cannot entirely explain its beauty, one has to see it used, the effortlessness and the appropriateness to task and skill of hand. And fit. The Crudeness only ramifies it “perfection” if you could call it that.

The knife here, is one side or edge of an unfolding. One where I want to talk about directness of purpose, shape, use and response. The other edge is a window. The  connection may seem a bit farfetched, bu I hope I can string together a certain aesthetic argument.

History and theory, somehow have a knack of complexifying things. And often to a point where the conversation becomes hard to follow, laborious and altogether disjointed from the simple pleasure that the practice of architecture and its obvious aftermath – the building , are supposed to enable

Design is most often a search, an enquiry into the nature of things and their relationships as part and whole which together provide a framework for expression and creation of both the built and the not built. I use the word not built, as different to Un-built, to clearly identify the act or decision of not building certain things or parts of buildings or space – like not building a wall in certain parts to provide apertures that can act as point of entry – doors, or communication – windows.

These decisions sometimes are results of stand points and intellectual exercises and some times of a considered and carefully mediated response to condition of site or location or topography or geography that inform the omission.

Much of the time, the articulation of the omission is guided by our altogether urban (and thus fairly sophisticated responses of form and function that are created from a surfeit of resources and technologies), born in synthesized environments that are completely controlled and regulated and overflowing with choice.

Our obsession with systems and technologies sometimes I feel lend a certain sterility, and disconnect. We become of higher orders than the environments we live in.

With this background then, when one encounters the primitive answer it is both satisfying and liberating.  A window, doing what it must - made from what is available, with no desire for beauty or celebration, no call for intellectual validation or flag waving. Nothing but pure window. And when you look closer then, a story unfolds. 

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