Le Chef de environnement construit: A middleman between the experience of living and the world’s civilisation.

This may seem like one of those posts where there is a pretence of some quasi “architecture theorist” who is seeking attention or looking to sound poetic by the misuse of the English language in sentences, many grammatical errors will be encountered along the way. There’s no need to worry because through your corrections you will make this story one which you might enjoy and be able to add on. I suppose that’s what stories are- an amalgamation of different experiences to produce a rich narrative or better understanding of life experiences…

To start on our journey together, let us delve into the unappetising experience that emerges from a friend’s kitchen when bellies pertruding from the body signalling to the cooker or chef of the evening a degree of satisfaction from that evening’s meal. A stroke of ego is now passing through the evening’s chef as this is testament to his creativity in combining flavours, merging ingredients, boiling water, controlling cooking temperature, chopping, grating, peeling and presenting the meal to the expert eaters-us. It’s a shame there were no leftovers for the trip back home or even for breakfast. Anyhooooowwww… 

The cleaning of a dishes is now taking place, with mist from the warm water produced by taps reducing visibility in the kitchen. A common view of not investing in a dishwasher is shared, not only for sustainability principles but also for the pockets of these young professionals. Screwsh! Scrub! Splash! Now the kitchen has been turned from a dry room to a wet room. Floors are a slippery hazard, health and safety inspector is not on site to alert us of the building codes we are braking and now another task is added-is it mopping the floor or the reduction of a safety hazard?

 “Thank for you for a lovely meal”; says one of my friends. Then the conversations descended to how lovely and wonderful the meal was. A display of knowledge about the ingredients used began to take ownership of the discussion, this was followed by a sentence regarding that the chef is an “architect”, hmm… what do you think? A chef employs creativity to create meals that are pleasing to observe, they inhabit the stomach beautifully in order that we become healthy and nourished, they bring pleasure to the tongue through stimulating different parts of it, facilitate for strength to our bodies etc. I suppose one could say they are the middleman between nutrition and the experience of eating. 

If this is the case, then what are Architects all about?

Are they the middle man between the experience of living and a civilisation we are creating? Through revealing meaningful stories, experiences and a creative urge to beautify the world. Delight is brought to the many spaces we enter, occupy and use; echoes of the present, past and future descends upon us. We become active participants to an ongoing story that shapes our life and others though we may be unaware of the immediate effects at the time; testament of which could occur after decades, centuries or even millennia when the capacity of the bearer is able to interpret the genius embedded within the work.   

To many, architecture is a profession that is about combining a variety of geometries, colours and materials to make the room, garden, neighbourhood, village or even skyline look pretty; essentially it the making of a building and being good at drawing. The current practice of this profession is testament to the forgotten essence of what is truly being cultivated when one engages with an orchestration of space and the alteration of the environment towards the requirements of the clients. Such an occasion should be viewed as a celebratory moment, rather than a daunting one as it’s a prescription to the problems of space that we face regularly. It could leave us being grateful of the place that satisfies us like the meal from the chef. We could end up discussing the ingredients of the making of a good place or space. We will be left with a thirst and hunger for many spies and places like such.

It’s evident that on some occasion our practice of it; is enthralled by the dynamics of capitalism, bureaucracy, some challenging clients and the need to attain some-kind of celebrity status which is being viewed as a guarantee to being a “Good Architect”. 

What would the chef prescribe? What would the architect prescribe?