Living with Ruins

I was on the Isle of Skye the other week, indulging in the weft of land and warp of sea under an expansive sky, and thought arose about the remnants of past civilisations, their physical and mental proximity and how they are included within working culture and, more specifically, their affect of working architectural practice.

This topic has an expansive and wide-ranging feel to it being both general (also applies to my Italy topics) and rather personal. We live around the marks and mounds of past cultures, the functional spaces made for redundant uses, refashioning all in a constant swirl of development. The City of London is this on steroids.

But my main focus is that of the practical reuse and reinstatement of certain buildings. Is there a need to keep Pevensey Castle a ruin when the evidence of millennia of reconstructions and redesign is evident? Does it not strike you that, with this evidence of the practical use of an existing structure, it marks our era out archeologically as some fearful neutered one, scared to add to that palimpsest for fear of making a mark?

The affect of living with ruins – specifically architectural – has a wider reach into our concurrent psyche that we might otherwise give it credit for. To me, they give a visual cultural anchor, a reference point that subliminally contextualizes my present thoughts and the actions of my practice. They curb hubris where it might awaken in the joy of a project completed that is viewed with complete perfection – as much as a mother to a new child – and extends a greater critical eye to it.

This is a topic I want to expand further but it will have to wait till I have more time to devote to it.