Friday, 16 January 2009

the fruitful manifesto

The Fruitful Manifesto:
Architecture must be as a tree.
Architecture must blossom and it must bear fruit.
Architecture must put roots down in the soil beneath it.
Architecture must make space for birds to nest and bees to hive in.
Architecture's fruit must be given away as freely as it was born.
Architecture, when finished, need be cut down and reused and reused.

In an age when we buy identities in tertiary landscapes,
with language usurped by the marketeers,
with ornament excluded by the death of history,
with green space commodified by the developers,
Architecture must be as a tree.

A draft of the manifesto to govern the next six months of my life.


Sarah Sevier said...

love. onward architect...

Mary Frances said...

I'm ready for the manifesto. Bring it.

Anonymous said...


Just wanted to say that I think this is FANTASTIC and really inspirational. I'd be really interested to hear the thought process behind this, and to watch what sort of buildings come out from this thinking... It's already got me buzzing with ideas! Tell us more...
Much love friend


phil said...

Asked by tutors, "Very nice Philip, what does it mean?" I ventured the following:

The Fruitful Manifesto is a social manifesto, concerned for the total well-being of every individual who effects and absorbs a local built environment and it is concerned for all the ways that the pedestrian, the city dweller engages with the urban experience. It is pro-active, it stand alone: the tree metaphor as the icon for a mode of building towards a deep ecology. It is also reactive, in its sense of urgency given the inadequate and unintegrated attention given to building process, ecology and human physical, mental and spiritual well-being. It is also derivative, extending the original source manifestos examined earlier in this document, appealing for its validity on the evidence of volunteers who would make such a project happen. Those former manifestos, of the Adbusters, Guerilla Gardeners and Street Artists were united in their protest against the privatisation of the urban visual environment on the grounds that the implications of this were detrimental psychologically and environmentally. The Fruitful Manifesto seeks to embody an alternative urban experience with its key point of reference being the humble and glorious fruit tree, which demonstrates such generous abandon, timeless sustainability and unmediated identity.

The studio required five 'processes' governing form and function of the resulting architecture, these were titled: 1:LAYER:Voids; 2:FRAME:Juxtaposed; 3:EVENT:Freely-Gathered; 4:ORNAMENT:Not-Crime; and 5:GROWTH:Organic. The Fruitful Manifesto is at the root of these: the aim of the manifesto being to embody a message about Being through the form and program and building process of a building, towards a city more organic. LAYER was employed by the Guerilla Gardeners to reveal that alternative surface, “sous les pav├ęs”, in those unused maligned spaces, either ignored, or by virtue of being commodified by developers, spaces made alien and unliveable, LAYER was employed stencillers where colour is added to dead space through the careful dissection of dead space. And similarly, by the Adbusters metaphorically removing a commercial mask put over an ugly process, revealing the substance behind the image. So too, the Tree, is that cohesion of layers, the integration of substance and image, sign and signifier, and so needs a prominent place in public discourse and the urban environment. The FRAME in Project 2 was a communication tool, a means of identifying and distinguishing, of calling attention to the urgency and importance of a cause, of setting the tone and mode of reference within a given and often contradictory context. A tree by its form does this, and further, a tree within a dominantly Cartesian urban environment speaks forcefully of an alternative, redeeming architecture must do likewise. EVENT attends to the temporal nature of the urban experience and considers this when in its efforts to communicate. Parking Project and Guerilla Gardening Schemes identified key nodes and subverted their program and visual effect, so too does a tree is a long unfolding form-event: the permanently unfinished effect of a living tree, its metamorphosis from seed to towering structure, at each stage offering new event opportunities, and each Autumn surprising and delighting in a transformed appearance. The ORNAMENT of street art is a testament to the nature of ultimate reality, better appreciated by a pre-enlightenment conception of reality. The tree sets this precedent in Spring, demonstrating the necessity of extravagant ornament and colour. GROWTH is both analogously a creative mandate to multiply in number and complexity, but also an acknowledgement of the intrinsic need for the green of plants at all points in daily experience, for psychological well-being and for a reference point for one's Being. The tree offers and embodies this simply by being, and we would save ourselves much angst to emulate it.

This manifesto points us to the tree as the example to emulate. The tree is intimately connected with history, by its evolved form and through its physical roots to all those who have gone before and died to form the rich mulching ground for seed growth. The tree, by its form, symbiotically relates to local fauna. The tree exists unselfconsciously and eternally, naturally cradle to cradle. These are facets of an architecture that addresses an overtly image-preoccupied privatised urban environment, which the source manifestos oppose and which Glasgow needs.