Nature Is Architecture without Enclosure

From my upcoming book "Under the Influence of Architecture"...

So much of architecture is about replacing what exits. We remove buildings or parts of them, we scrape off land. We like new.

Then we get immensely attached to the buildings that have weathered throughout centuries. Think, Venice or historic buildings like Monticello or Westminster Cathedral. And we want to preserve them, not change a thing.

This is the discussion design enters into when we begin the critical examination of a project’s circumstances: What actually exists? Although the direction that is uncovered in the partí—the basic concept of an architectural design—holds both the physical and ephemeral, it is innumerate. Design, therefore, is a process of uncovering and illuminating the exact constructs necessary to meet the partí. And this is where the eye of the beholders produces the endless solutions to any given design problem. (Put another way, this is also where all hell breaks loose, for who is to say when a partí has been met?)

If architecture begins at the beginning of everything, and it is guided forth by secrets that cannot be told within the mind alone but are revealed by light, then it would seem that in order to uncover and illuminate the exact constructs necessary, design would have to continuously trace back to origin, to tapping the feeling that instantaneously shoots into the infinite.

Alpine Modern Issue 06 / Photo by Garrett King

There is an image on the farewell cover of Alpine Modern’s print magazine. It is an image that fades from a near-white mountain backdrop to a dark silhouette of a lone person in profile standing on a mossy green capped rock. I stare at that cover often because it describes everything architecture is, without a shred of enclosure. △

"I stare at that cover often because it describes everything architecture is, without a shred of enclosure."

When not practicing architecture or creating singular built environments at her research-based firm Studio Points in Boulder, Colorado, ml Robles explores the source of architecture in her writings. She is currently writing her book "Under the Influence of Architecture."

Photo by ml Robles