Architecture – an act of magic

published in Architektur Arktuell, 246/247, October 2000

"Mark the first page of the book with a marker. For in the beginning, the wound is invisible." Reb Alcé
Edmund Jabès, The book of Questions

The attempts undertaken in the early 20th century to improve the breed of the human race and its condition caused immense destruction and an unprecedented loss of human life. Very little was achieved except ultimate suffering.

The failure to manufacture a better homo sapiens also diminished the chances that glass architecture, then still in its infancy, could become its showcase. It had to wait for another half a century before finally being embraced by the world of finance.

Genuinely concerned about its dubious public image, it found the apparent transparency of the glass architecture its best alibi. Soulless reincarnation took place.

Architecture is above all an act of magic; not because a magician is at work or because of its scarcity, but rather due to the fact that it hides more than it reveals. What we look at, what we see, is only a reflected image of what we cannot see: the architecture's soul.

Invisible and immaterial, it displays a surprising degree of resistance to the passage of time and ever-changing fashions. It refuses to abandon even the ruins of architecture, particularly the ruins of once great buildings.

Architecture benefits greatly from its partial imperceptibility, the way Anton Chekhov's plays gain from the inhibitions of its characters. What makes for the dramatic effect and the continuous relevance of his works is not what is said on the stage but what is never spelled out. Silence can never become outdated.
Our environment is continuously changing as a result of 'development' and our inclination to please the Zeitgeist.

However, our emotional spectrum remains very much the same as that of a caveman. Fear and terror invade our subconscious as a part of contemporary experience.

The awareness of the ever-changing nature of the world and of humanity's archaic origins are the true stones of architecture. All that remains to be answered is the question of how to put them together.

Architecture has never stopped being an art. It is an art in constant search for an expression of the human soul in its ever-changing condition. It is a human art, but never humane enough.

Zvi Hecker

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