It can often seem that digital photography is actively affecting architecture. As if buildings were being made to suit a world in which we can take a lot of good pictures quickly and then ping them around the world via the internet. This is only half the story. If you look at the early paintings of Zaha Hadid we see her explore her beloved construcitivists. She does so by exploding them, fragmenting them and viewing them from multiple viewpoints. Eisenman’s work with Derrida on Chora L Works looks at ways of subverting architecture’s system of delivering a single meaning through formal play.
In this way, architecture lags behind the visual arts. Photography’s influence on early 20th century painting is now clear to us. The Cubists were creating forms which acknowldged a basic tenet of modernity, that objects were perceived simultaneously from a multitude of viewpoints. The architectural movement known as deconstructivism, which began in the 1980s, was merely an architectural rationalisation of this. Of course desconstructivism was an exploration of new technical possibilities in architecture, but it was also an attempt to escape a straightforward meaning.
Deconstructivism proffers numerous facets to the world at any one time. Look at me this way, I’m one thing. Look at me the other way, I’m another thing. The Deconstructivists sought to escape providing a clear meaning in their architecture; to be captured in one shot and interpreted. Yet digital photography has progressed to such a stage that it can capture all these moments and not only that it can provide the moment that most suits the argument of an editor or a journalist.
Does architecture try and stay one step ahead of its reader? Or should it just give in and express meaning clearly?