-You are all familiar with this: form follows function. Tonight we will be sort of exhaustively looking at that. What does it mean, why form, why function, what do we mean “follows?” does it mean “comes after,” or does it mean “takes its cues from” or does it mean “subscribes to” or does it mean “is less important than?”

-I will depend on you to know my work a little, if only from the exhibition, to understand why this is my theme. I will not talk to the slides, directly at least, for the most part.

-The punch line is that this is all about legibility…this is an explicit critique of the last thirty years of what I’ve been calling PCAD or post critical authorlessdesign, or parametrically controlled automaticdesign.

-The general context for this discussion is the idea that Architecture is about placing us in the world. It does this by embodying our understanding of that world, representing to us truths about it, making visible what we take for granted or is otherwise invisible. In larger terms, though, this general responsibility of architecture that I am asserting here therefore makes meaning and legibility important, and makes the basic question for architecture: How does architecture communicate? What is legible? And finally, what does or can architecture mean?

-Since modernism as a global hegemonic attitude was shaken by Pruitt-Igoe and then definitively overcome by the forces of pomo and decon and the digital revolution, there has been a crisis in the belief that these questions matter anymore: the notion that meaning is possible or desirable in architecture has been challenged and generally felt wanting.

-However fruitless the deconstructivism movement proved, however quickly it was eclipsed by its digital offspring, we do owe it one lasting truth: the persistence of meaning…and its possible deleterious effects.

-Let’s go over some different contemporary takes on ways to relate to stuff in view of decon’s critique of meaning. We will go from the predicate to the subject, from function to form.