Some Passing Thoughts on the New Architecture of Circumstance

August 10, 2014

The Korean architect Hyunjoon You in the conclusion of his book Modernism: A History of Eastern and Western Architecture argued that modern architecture is the result of combining eastern and western culture; he then asked, “ What then, will be the next step in the architectural revolution?”

Earlier in the book he quoted the claims of the biologists that the reasons why there are two sexes in nature is to hand down superior genes to the next generation, by combining different genes from the opposite sex after growing up in different environments, the two sexes met and are combined to produce a better off-spring.

Now I can relate to this since my two children are “mixed-blood”, their mother has German and English blood and myself a Cantonese/Chinese lived most of my life in Australia, so what happens next for my children biologically will be similar architecturally, they will reproduce according to the partners that they will meet, that is according to their circumstance. So here, by analogy, we can see the answer to the next step in the architectural revolution.

The next step in the architectural revolution will be architecture of circumstance. A new generation of architects will not produce their work under a particular label, but will create according to the circumstance that they find themselves in space-time; that is the coming together of the different Yin and Yang forces associated with the circumstance.

They will learn to let it be (wu-wei), let the context of the site and the human needs produce the physical form, they will not interfere artificially with some new “ism”, they will let the circumstance produce the architecture and not their ego, transcending the need for control and to be different.

It will be an architecture that is multivalent and heterogeneous, but it has one thing in common: it is what it is meant to be; it is architecture of being itself in its circumstance.

Below are some pictures of our Farmhouse in Herzfelde Ukermark taken a few years ago: When it is renewing an old house it is just that: renewing an old house, because that is the circumstance, both with the outside and the inside – the idea is to respect what were there and let the original “perfume” come through. It is architecture without a capital “A”.

Herzfelde Exterior

Herzfelde Bed

Herzfelde Lounge


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