The Shortingcomings of Modern Architecture.

The evolution of architecture throughout history has been an indicator of the quality of man living in their respective time periods. The tools and materials that were used have changed drastically, at least as far back as far as we can tell. The tools of antiquity were little more than stone and wood amalgamations used for hitting, twisting, bending, and boring softer materials than what the tools themselves were made of. Ancient civilizations recognized that harder stone was able to break and therefor cut and shape softer stone. Most architecture endeavors were executed with the materials that were local to build sites. It is extremely difficult to move heavy objects over long distances today and it was just as hard in antiquated times. 

Many of past civilization used stone as the medium of building. Why did they do that? It could be that was what was available for them to build with. Maybe, they saw the value in stone as a building material considering its strength and longevity. Some stone has magnetic and electrical properties as well depending on their constituents. These civilizations also would build into landscapes, i.e. into mountains or hillsides, in caves, etc. Aside from their living structures it seems as though they strove to build structures that allowed them to understand higher organizations of their reality. Things like Stonehenge and the pyramids of Egypt and Mayan Chichen Itza are a few of examples that are said to map out celestial star clusters. The ancients had a more acute sense of the happenings of the celestial bodies that lived above them, and they organized their whole culture around it. Their architecture was no exception. 

Looking at how things are done now, unfortunately we live in a time of excess and quick gratification. It seems we have lost our sense of what it means to exist in this world and instead we look to tolerate it as a random inconvenience. Though the experts say that the progress of man has never been so forward as it is today, one can feel a disconnect between the technology and human spirit. The materials used in modern architecture today are mostly steel, glass, plastic, concrete, and wood. We have traded in the old rounded and flowing surfaces of antiquity for the sharp angles and flat features of modernity. It seems now that reality, as it truly is, which is shown to us by nature’s laws has been given the cold shoulder by modern man.

Why is it that modern architecture has become cold and rigid? Why is it that we don’t strive to build things that are beautiful, lasting, and in harmony with nature’s teachings? Is it that we’ve traded in consciousness for convenience? Have we pawned off our value system in return for promissory notes that never pay?  I would say the answer to these is a sad, yes. Trying to get things built as quickly as possible without deeper considerations will only leave us wishing that we had. Many of the ancient structures took multiple generations to build, but look at their quality. Walk into an old cathedral and observe the precise craftsmanship. Notice the pillars, notice the vaulted ceilings, notice the rose windows. Now walk into a modern church and observe the difference. The aesthetic features have experienced a phase shift, a different paradigm entirely.

Though modern architecture is a sign of our time of decay, we have a say in what happens next. We have a choice in the type of buildings that we erect. We have choice in where these buildings are to be erected. It is time for us now to start making the right choices that bring us in tune with nature and not out of it. This problem runs deeper in the marrows of human consciousness than just architectural blunders. The architecture is just a sign, an indicator of where our societal consciousness is at currently. From my standpoint, I see not progress, but decay.

It is incumbent on us now to build with nature and to transmute this force of decay into something useful. We have been given a unique opportunity to become the proverbial hero figure. Let us take haste in seizing this opportunity. Let us build using only what we need. Let us build with the earth, not on it. Let us look to the higher self we all have within us for guidance and for establishing discipline over the lower. In this matter we can point the arrow of consciousness to higher things and from their everything falls into place, naturally.

–  John Petriccione II