Monday, June 22, 2009

Sexing the Architecture

The watertower of Ypsilanti, Michigan [The Brick Dick]
Image stolen from here

It is said that modern architecture is molded by the squire’s of the patriarchal society to represent its image as icons of civilization. However the once phallocentric architecture is now changing its rigidity in favor of a more feminine sensuality.

Abu Dhabi Performing Arts Centre by Zaha Hadid
Image was stolen from here

Preaching’s from Vitruvius’s 10 books on architecture to the modular man of Corbusier, have seem to be less favored in the eyes of Hadid’s lush and sensuous movements. However phallisism is yet to die off completely as designers such as Foster seem to pledge their hardcore alliance to the gargantuan temples of phallic gods, even though it should be questioned whether the once divine symbols depict the same quality as before.

The gherkin, london in the background by Norman Foster
Image was stolen from here

The phallic culture is defined by the rigidity, hardness, brutal and non-ornate styles that were omnipresent in the modern movement. The postmodernist such as ventury defied these set of rules and proclaimed the return to symbolism and ornate architecture, and set the stage for more illustrious projects of the deconstructivists.

Brooklyn's Williamsburgh Bank Building
Image was stolen from here

Now the question remains whether at present we create architecture of male supremacy, feminine sensuality or something totally different. If the phallic symbolization were to hold true the structures should obey the basic principles of being non-ornate, brutal beasts raging and ripping through the clouds. But when we take either the gherkin in London or the torre agbar in Barcelona they seem to have enough elegance to be dancing with the rays of light whilst playing amidst the heavens, which is far from how the symbols of patriarchal society should present themselves.

Florida State Capitol Building in Tallahassee
Image was stolen from here

As times changed cultural values have changed. The once clearly defined gender differentiation is lost in the brew of society, and it might be that these changes in values are seeping in to architecture as well. So the question we need to ask is whether similar to having male and female buildings are we also now having gay and lesbian buildings?

Torre Agbar building
Image was stolen from here