The Metaphoric Significance of the Created Environment:
By Barie Fez-Barringten
Consciously acknowledged or not by both creators and users the man- made built environment is a potential symbol which creators and users can either ignore or recognize as not only a symbol but a metaphor. It is the intention of these monographs to validate and thereby encourage the intentional, controlled, and designed making of metaphors by proving that building as metaphors is actual, real and consequential. The matter of applying the technology and ideas to make such metaphors are in abundance. What is at question is the will and intention of using these resources. Creators of the environment perceive the created work; in different ways and for different reasons. These differences are in the effort, time and intensity of involvement with the creation and subsequent use of the work. The result of creator's efforts becomes a symbol and a metaphor, this phenomena is serious, important and with its consequences worthy of validating. The creator, well-motivated or not, will be at the beginning with an idea and involved in the process of using technology to convert ideas into a reality. The user, perceiving or not, is involved with the product of this process and for a much longer period of time., perhaps attaching to it meaning, significance and importance often different and unexpected by its author.
When by chance, the importance and consequences of the authors concerns are successfully imparted and manifested in the work and perceived by the users we can observe that this phenomena is rooted in the author's own sensitivity and concern about what his context means to him and his family. What importance is the built environment in his own life and how would its improvement, change, or modification affect him. It has been personal, cerebral, and willful. The architect chose to do it and followed his decision by a sustained effort. Have architects ignored their right, authority and unwritten mandate by being careless about this creative goal. The goal of making metaphors and symbols, and, if revived what would change? Would they be more uplifted and would their lives improve? Would the perception of there lives improve?
It is said that unlike the medical profession what architects do has no affect on the physical life or death of his client. He just uses an eraser, etc. What about the social, psychological and, yes the spiritual life of users. Metaphors that architects make have a significant impact on both the users and the context in which their works are set. This phenomenon is being exacerbated by computer aided designing and virtual reality. Computer aided design miniaturizes and abstracts the bounding and limiting characteristics of environments. Alternatively, it could be a metaphor maker’s tool just as a word processor and internet are to writer.
There was a time when architects could only be religious men vested with a known calling from the creator of all things to carry out his calling to provide buildings symbolizing god's message to man and later his blessings. They were kinds of prophets given a burden by God. Today, both theists and atheists practice forming the environment. Works are derived from user's program of requirements; technology; context; and concerns for their health, safety and welfare. Yet the built environment and its works of architecture are uneven in quality and apparent maintenance and upkeep.