Someone told me once it’s better off considering things as a whole from the little ones. While perusing ‘Guns, Germs, and Steel’ I realized how important little things are when they shape a solely endless row. What is more, the relationships between territory, history and society were revealed crystal clear, and all of them lie in a large number of very little things, according to this Jared Diamond’s book. I do recommend it to everybody, but especially to architects, since its reading may be quite a fresh one.
Surely many people are tired to hear that the architecture was traditionally made on the basis of its landscape and that sort of things. That argument has usually become why some current architects reject technology in order to work with local materials such as mud and stone, and that is commonly made from environmental preservation. By and large, the book explains why each landscape drives to each society, and architecture is a part of a society. Old hat by now.
But the histories of the societies change because of invasions from mightier ones, which convey new powerful technologies and occupy the territory differently. That technical stuff is carried with from far places since the Antiquity. Even the Romans got the marble from relatively far quarries, isn’t it? The issue is that Diamond recognizes native societies are usually used to dispose well of a territory from its resources management, while the conquerors often press it by new crops, cattle, technology and the like. The clearest example given is Australian history. I think it’s the same with architecture. Traditional architecture uses local resources, whereas foreign one requires alien materials. Therefore, the costs and the environmental pressure are higher.
But something makes no sense. So to speak, shall the humankind return to the Medieval Ages so that not to destroy the world? In other words, should the architects forget the modern ways to do architecture? Clearly they shouldn’t, right? Diamond illustrates how a civilization grows up due to other civilizations contacts. Architecture also develops due to improvements and ideas from around the world. At any rate, how to save the world? Would we find a great solution in time for the climate change? What about the rising of the population? What about__?
I think nowadays there is no solution to these questions, since they all are big ones. They lead to discussions as overwhelming as dull. Meanwhile, the world is dying. Let’s follow Diamond’s lead. History is a large concept which lies on simple facts. Architects have got the big picture to get their own concept, but it doesn’t help with daily stuff many a time. So let’s focus on the little things such as the natural heat, the width of the facades, the windows size and so on. Those things we can handle with easily at work. Also, those things both technic and landscape provide. Never mind whether high-tech is used instead of local types as long as it works, and vice versa. Eventually, we could find out a new way to occupy a territory in a sustainable way like our ancestors did before. The main goal is the big picture, but it isn’t the daily hit at all.