Architecture and sex (yawn)

5 October, 2006

Although the analogies between architecture and sexuality have now been explored to their tenuous limits, this extract from the essay Making Love / Making Architecture by Adis Didaskalou in Desiring Practices (ed. Rüedi, Wigglesworth and McCorquodale) is still remarkably apposite to our discussion. Surely a characteristic of all alternative architectural practice is that they employ an alternative method of practising architecture (you get my drift?).

Could this approach to questioning architectural practice be appropriate for our study of alternative practices, in that a relevant (and even contraversial) comparison or interpretation can be utilised to question what we take for granted?

Why is it that the stable building has to be the only ‘raison d’être of architectural practice, the only origin and recognised end?

Why, in architectural education, is such an emphasis given to the final product? Why is such pressure exerted on the students to produce (ejaculate) visible, even spectacular, completed projects?

Why do all students have to reach, after a carefully monitored process, a male-like orgasm (only one will be accepted) by the end of each studio?

How many successful, male-like architectural orgasms must a student be able to exhibit in his/her portfolio before he/she can possibly be recognised as a (male) architect?

Why are we inclined to attribute so little (if any) meaning and value to all the preliminary investigations and design ‘foreplay’, and this only to the extent we think they will lead us safely (though, not prematurely) to the predefined and prescribed final climax? Where might such students’ pleasure (if there is any left) come from? Will such pleasure spring from a labyrinthine design process, from some apparently insignificant details or singular moments, or will it result from its final achievement and absolute physical exhaustion?

ed. Rüedi K., Wigglesworth S. and McCorquodale D. (1996) Desiring Practices: Architecture, Gender and the Interdisciplinary. London, Black Dog Publishing


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