Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Chapter 37, The Atlas of Novel Nectonics
Program : Architecture :: Lyrics : Music

Only architects think that there exists a tight relationship between how spaces are labeled and what happens inside them. We, on the other hand, operate under the assumption that a tenuous relationship exists between architecture and program. This relationship is equivalent to that between lyrics and music. The same musical sequence that provides the structure for one patriotic song, "God Save Our Gracious Queen," becomes "My Country 'tis of Thee" when the lyrics are changed. The music is able to communicate diametrically opposed content with exactly the same musical structure and the same ability to affect.

Notably, lyrics do correlate to music in certain ways, as sonic material, rhythm, rhyme, etc., but not at t he level of meaning. Similarly, programs correlate to architecture only imprecisely: approximate square footages, relative locations and relationships, etc. If there is a precise fit, it is between certain programs and building systems such as plumbing, electricity, and gas. You don't always eat at the table, but you always cook at the stove.

Programming can indeed alter the narrative of a space, but it is also true that despite or even because of those narratives, people are capable of doing almost anything anywhere.

What is an ideal house (what are one's ideals)? A machine for living? To what end? Can a house aid in the actualization of aspirations? When site and user are explicated from the design of a house, what remains for the architect(ure)?