The Black storefront Church has often acted as both intermediary between people and god and the poor and a city's bureaucratic largesse. Its architecture, reconfigured to suggest that in some small way, Spirit and resource was inside the building.
The Zuisenji Shrine, a beautiful Buddhist Temple, with its well defined monastic order giving attention to the prayers of its people and details of its upkeep resonates as another kind of mediation and mediation tool. The Zuisenji is not easily accessible, but once there, its beauty is overwhelming and it resonates with deep reflective power.
These two forms of architecture meeting inform a critical social engagement that resonates deeply within me.
Temple (6916) is meant to be out of the ordinary, in the way that Japan was upon my first visit. Immediately everything was foreign, but in time, I realized that the fish shacks that I encountered were the very same materials of the fish shacks I grew up using in Mississippi. I hope to identify similarities in vernacular architecture and responsive design that surprises, then welcomes the viewer while giving respect to the impact of very formal Chinese inspired Japanese Architecture.
I love when I go to new cities and I am taken to small, obscure spaces of beauty that I would never expect. Chicago has the Bean and Picasso, but there should be interstitial moments of beauty alongside the monumental moments! My hope is to grow the number of small acts of beauty and contemplation with the hope that the moments began to suggest that the place where I live is, in fact A PLACE. I want to enunciate PLACES that already exist and occupy those Places with happenings.
This way of making is significant for several reasons. First, it celebrates the potential architecture has to respond to severe situations in urban environments. Catastrophes brought on by war, poverty, natural destruction and marginality has made the field much more agile and sensitive, not only to the needs of wealthy clients, but also the small voices. I hope to respond to the utterances for dignity and hope. While I may not be able to change the housing market or the surety of gentrification, I can offer questions within the landscape. To question, not by petitioning or organizing in the activist way, but by building and making good use of the things forgotten.
In addition, while my primary interest has been in the fields of Visual Art and Urban Planning, I have long sensed that the built environment was a necessary part of the purpose of my work. Creative people have the right to be concerned with the built environment and should engage the tools of architecture as a way of making meaning of their spaces. I feel empowered to share with other lay people that architecture is about understanding ones personal needs and highest physical ambition and having the tools to articulate these ideals to others.
Everyone deserves to see and be a part of the transformation of their spaces into places. Beautiful objects belong in blighted spaces and creative people can play a pivotal role in how this happens. I want the young people in my neighborhood to look at the built environment and see the world as something worth critiquing, exploring and constructing.