Monday, May 18, 2009


1.04 pm Beirut Time is not our side anymore. The representation of our functions with respect to our habitat is becoming by itself a metaphor for our mental anorexia, that has been going on for years now. We calculate in terms of approximation, our necessities on a trajectory, exploring nothing but block-result. At least this is what could be said about the mainstream commercial architecture.

Commercialism is not only a way of doing things in such a stage of reversial evolution, but in fact, it has become a lead player in the game of survival. We, as humans now, more than ever know that we have a clear view of our oblivion. We know what is going to happen to us, and we know who is doing it, us.

It is only when we confront ourselves with our 1.14 pm Beirut. facts, that we will build.

But where are we going to learn about ourselves? By admitting our malfunction in designing, we fall down from our sketchbooks, off our keyboards, to hit what we would normally think of as rock bottom. We reach the usual starting point of what is the essence of our being, the “offset”.

The offset is physically nothing. It is only the expression of our personal context. This is what would define architecture as a contextual tissue, and not a sidewalk parasite. There are a lot of ways to re think our contemporary state of urban nuclear waste.

No one can complain. It is a matter of regeneration from a base-point that is both empty, yet different from one place to another. What would that give us? A transparent, empty bucket. This bucket should be crammed with temporary, precise, milieu data including narratives, dirt, people, voices, images, brothers and sisters, accumulating until each physical entity by itself loses its independent identity. The narrative should smell like images, the same way dirt will become the sister of people’s voices. This melange of essential “un-approximate” values, will create the antagonist of a tabula-rasa, a sketchbook, with a crooked grid, keyboards with distinct keys. The starting point becomes the energy-breakfast of a hearty, healthy shelter, shelters that would define architecture as 1.26 pm Beirut a processed reflection of us.

Raafat Majzoub

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