I haven’t quite figured out how seriously I should take architecture. Is it important? To some people, absolutely. But not everyone needs or wants it, so it’s a bit like fashion if you ask yourself these two questions: Do people need clothing? Yes, but not fashion. Do people need shelter? Yes, but not necessarily architecture. As much as we may like to dress spiffy or inhabit swanky spaces, most of us would probably roll our eyes if someone insisted that couture labels were a matter of life and death. And as long as it doesn’t collapse, architecture is pretty much the same way, right?
We’ve been looking at playful projects this past week, and have seen everything from roller coasters to legos to fiber optics. The last project we’ll see this week is from Michael Jantzen. Jantzen is probably best known for his shape-shifting M-Vironments which have been widely published, or you may know him from his playful photo series of deconstructed houses. and churches. And today we have a relatively simple footbridge he’s designed for nowhere in particular.
The Footstep Bridge looks a bit like it was borrowed from an 8-bit video game. It helps that the model of his proposed bridge is photographed spanning a flatly-colored green valley and the background is a simple blue gradient. But in reality the project is about something else – “those who use the Footstep Bridge, experience a new way of crossing over a road, river, etc. as they move up and down through space and time to get to the other side.” It’s an imaginative bridge, and makes sense that it would come from the hands of someone with body of work that challenges stauncher approaches to architecture.
Just to be clear, I’m certain that Jantzen and the other creative folks we’ve talked about this week all take their careers seriously. But I’m not sure if any think their work is a matter of life and death. It would be hard to create work as exuberant as these folks have if you’re dragging around stodgy notions of what architecture should and shouldn’t be. Of course reasonable people may disagree with my assessment, but they can build themselves a bridge and get over it.
Found through Archinect