S'14 Thesis: Gabriel Blue Cira

Gabriel Blue Cira
MArch Thesis 2014


Architecture constitutes an exception to the fixtures of everyday life, and this it shares with all other forms of art; it is the source of its power (the power to furnish an aesthetic experience) and the bracketing of that power to within the frame. Architecture immediately pronounces itself to a viewer as architecture—this is what architects desire from their work: a moment of fixed attraction and recognition from the viewer that reaffirms the thing’s identity as architecture.

This difference is asserted in many ways; often which require the sacrifice of other types of value in the name of this symbolic surplus. Can we conceive of an architecture that effects these moments of attention without an enunciation of difference? Difference functions here as an opposition between architecture and the fabric of the real. “The fabric of the real” stands for its own indifference where architecture only declares difference—and it stands for the indifference of perception afforded it in exchange.

These trivial and nondescript fixtures of our everyday built environment, because they rest outside of cultural-aesthetic frames, might be used to enact architecture (as a project and as the reception of that project) without cueing the chain of conditioning that implicates authorship, judgement of artistic value, and, its final form, “cultural capital.”

Architecture as a discipline, a lineage of producers that has defined a register of aesthetic experience, has also therefore defined its own system for the evaluation of significance. Though some have heralded that “everything is architecture,” and indeed it seems that everything can become architecture (in the same way that everything can become art—via an apparatus of framing), there are things that we do not remember as such, often things that we do not remember at all. There are things that are not “architecture,” buildings that are not “architecture.” Architecture needs this distinction to protect its position.

[pdf of entire thesis forthcoming]