Excerpt from Deborah Berke, Steven Harris, Architecture of the Everyday

Excerpt from Deborah Berke, Steven Harris, Architecture of the Everyday





Response to Excerpt from Deborah Berke’s essay, “thoughts on the everyday.”

According to Berke, the architecture of everyday can be generic and anonymous. This definition fits an experience I had with an interior space in a post-modernism church. Unlike other interior spaces which clearly tell who the architect is, this interior space is unique and simple and does not flaunt the architect. Space is straightforward and one would need another source to tell who the make is. Space looks good and attractive just as Berke gives an example of how a package in a supermarket lacks a brand name but the container have a good look for the content. Even with a close look at the space in that church, it is close to impossible to identify the maker. One cannot however resist from admiring the architectural work.

The interior space is also common as it uses common materials. Clearly, the architect was trying not to look extraordinary. Berke argues that the architecture of everyday may be common. Well, this one is. The fact that the author uses common materials and designs shows that he or she wants people to make their own meaning from looking at their work. The architecture is not trying to tell people it is them who have produced that work. This is important as it ensures that architects create original work instead of a fake or substitute work that they would produce if they tried to look extraordinary.

The interior space of the church is available materials that are inexpensive making it quite ordinary. This according to Berke is an architecture of everyday. It can be quite ordinary. An architecture of its moment. It draws its strength from the use of common materials and from its simplicity. The Architect focused on using fewer resources to do more with the purpose of impacting peoples’ daily lives. Instead of relying on expensive materials, the architects focused on simplicity, quality, and composition to bring out beauty. 

The interior space was rough contrary to being polished which is a common trend. In most case, interior spaces are usually smooth but in this case, the architect decided to go rough. This is being an architecture of everyday. As Berke says, it can be crude. Although the interior space looks unrefined, it definitely looks rough and very ready. The interior space provokes a sense of touch. One cannot resist from touching it to feel that roughness. It feels fresh and also attractive.

Unlike other buildings, this is definitely not a monument. The architect obviously gave the interior space a symbolic meaning and it is not monumental. According to Berke, an architecture of today can take a symbolic meaning but it doesn’t need to be monumental. Although Berke doesn’t deny the need for monuments, it is important to note that every infrastructure doesn’t need to be a monument. In this case, the architect of the interior space did not intend to build a monument.

Most commonly, churches are built in a fashionable way. Expensive materials, and unique designs. However, this interior space seems to be different. A very simple design. This shows that architecture is prone to changes. A look at different early churches in and this interior pace shows a big difference. Earlier, the architecture was more fashionable. However, the interior space supports Berke’s idea that architecture of everyday is subject to change.