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Sine Qua Non: or Reflections on Architecture with Special Reference to The Abolition of Man, by C.S. Lewis

Part 2 Dissertation 2011
Joshua Morrin
Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Australia
“But that’s what we all yearn for, this freedom from constraints!”.
– Frank Gehry, Sydney, December 2010.

The argument advanced in this dissertation begins with this near throw-away comment from Frank Gehry, whilst explaining his proposal for the UTS Business School. What follows is a largely impertinent, but considered and argued position regarding the possible implications of adherence to his statement. If followed, the hypothetical reveals a set of consquences most probably beyond what we expect or realise, misleading education, and misleading practice, and undermining the very essence of a discipline. In so doing, it gets to some of the fundamentals of Architecture, and even beyond that, to the question of our relationship to it as individuals.

This dissertation owes more to the thinking of CS Lewis than can be adequately referenced. I wish to make it clear at the outset, therefore, that what follows is little more than an adaptation of a form of argument, and in cases, of writing, of another, to my own particular concern. This is not a shameful admission, but rather (if I understand anything of Architecture at all) a continuation of a pattern of development that makes Architecture, and much of the world, the way that it is today.

Its point of origin is, I think, the same reason that most Architects persevere at being Architects: the fight for that which we think matters. It may evidence some thinking about the world external to Architecture; this must be seen as a personal view.

In addition, I owe a certain apology to Frank Gehry, from whom I rather unfairly choose to mount my argument. It is, to a certain extent, an obscure reference; and my manner of attacking what was most likely a quickly tossed-off remark echoes of the nitpicking consistencies for which academics are notorious. But I am not worried. No doubt he is hardly likely to be constrained by anything that I might care to write.

Joshua Morrin

Howard Raggatt
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