Structure, Edges, and Surfaces

authors Branimir Rajčić, Mariela Žinić
project Homestead on Hartovski vrh,  Žumberak, Croatia
written by Robert Jonathan Loher


There is a tacit wisdom of architecture that has accumulated in history and tradition. This is a wisdom that luminously reveals the mental essence of the art of architecture. But architecture needs slowness to re-connect itself with this source of silent knowledge. Architecture requires slowness in order to develop again a cumulative knowledge, to accumulate a sense of continuity and to become enrooted in culture.
We need an architecture that rejects momentariness, speed and fashion; instead of accelerating change and a sense of uncertainty architecture must slow down our experience of reality in order to create an experiential background for grasping and understanding change. Instead of current obsession with novelty, architecture must acknowledge and respond to the bio-cultural and archaic dimensions of the human psyche
. Juhani Pallasmaa, Six Themes for the Next Millennium

Great acceleration is followed by a deceleration. It is necessary so that the power mechanisms wouldn’t be exhausted or destroyed. Certain vital functions of the mechanism are being individually shut down, and later we realize they were not vital after all, because the machine keeps moving anyway.
These days we are vividly becoming aware of this slowdown, now that various functions of living and movement freedom are being abolished, though at the same time, these new conditions open a variety of new insights and horizons. Many freedoms that have been taken away show us that we can, in fact, live unhindered even without them. It is as if some tectonic plates of habits had been moved and crushed in a deep geological abyss. These new moments, which are but an introduction into something yet to come – where the current order will be turned upside-down, present us with an opportunity to position ourselves within new frames of perception and reaction. Symbolically put, and with regards to the recent earthquake in Zagreb, we were left without decorations, which had no fundaments in the first place; they simply stood for what they were – mere decorations. Slowing down is likewise beneficial because of the increasing loss of the depth of experience and horizons. Otherwise, the 4-dimensional understanding of the environment is becoming flatter and flatter, abandoning us in space, surrounded by numerous images and information we do not know what to do with, how to apply them nor how to treat them.
Finally, slowing down can bring us back to our archaic origins, however, not to the period of fire and wheel invention, but rather to the discernment of the essential from the nonessential, due to the experience acquired so far. In an allencompassing social catharsis, we might proceed with the reduction of all that is irrelevant in order to reset the notions and start anew. That is what the crises are for.