Shane Reiner-Roth

The Architecture of Alternatives

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“A choice! Do you, my listener, know how to express in a single word anything more magnificent?…This is the pearl of great price, yet it is not intended to be buried and hidden away. A choice that is not used is worse than nothing; it is a snare in which a person has trapped himself as a slave who did not become free – by choosing.”

-Søren Kierkegaard

We have seen in enough interior design magazines that rooms are introverted in their malleability: in a room, one can put any type of furniture (or no furniture at all), create any flow of circulation, and partake of any sort of function. While the plurality of options possible for one room is nothing to shake a stick at, the transition between is certainly singular. Circulation is established in a building as though it is the ultimate and most logical solution. While they generally do often construct an elegant or efficient circulation strategy, there are, of course, potential alternatives.

A solution to this problem has already been published by Cedric Price with his proposal, the Fun Palace. In his proposal, the participant is given the abilioty and indeed the authority to alter the transitional spaces any way he pleases. While I intend a construct in the same spirit as that of Price’s, my proposal is in formal opposition to his, in part because dynamism is rarely an efficient of buildable solution, but more importantly because people really do look for authoritative guidance, and they naturally get frustrated with a forest without a path. Therefore, my proposal can generally be described as the static alternative aside.

Since individual spaces are self-structural, their consideration can generally be acknowledged. But transitions can be awkward, and their singular physicalities can alone be burdensome (if not the scene of social anxiety). Alternative spaces purely dedicated to the absolution of this fixedness would illustrate Kierkegaard’s admiration for choice.  I believe that choice can only be perceived if the options can be put alongside one another (static), as opposed to something presents each option within the same space sequentially (dynamic). It is for this reason that I would present each choice unobstructed and unchanging. While the main, most visually present option might still be most frequently chosen, the recognition of one’s alternative is, at the very least, a veneration of Kierkegaard’s reflection on choice, as well as a long-forgotten human necessity.



Written by differance

October 2, 2010 at 5:24 AM

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