April is National Poetry Month, and while the most powerful "poetry" of architects tends to come in built form, there are those that use words to articulate their passion, pride or even desperation as it relates to design. Author Jill Stoner even went so far as to argue that architecture could be learned through poetry in her book "Poems for Architects: An Anthology", in which 48 poems were selected from some of the most noted poets of the 20th century to help architecture students understand the conceptual idea of space. Some of the most evocative words written on the relationship between architecture and poetry can be found within the pages of that very book:
"While poetry at its best continues to make us think of poetry, architecture at its best cannot allow us to think of architecture. Industry continues to tempt us with new products in wood, concrete and steel, but our primary building material is nearly weightless; in fact, it is air. Not only weightless but invisible, quixotic. Building space requires that we make our buildings empty. The villanelle as an ‘acoustic chamber’ is a suitable metaphor for what architecture can now become, because it so perfectly illustrates the ideal of emptiness."
Here are a selection of architectural poems to celebrate this special month. Those shown in white text on a blackground are by studio fredrik lund, run by Fredrik Lund, a professor of architecture at NTNU— Norway's largest university. The others were sourced from architecture website Archenemy.
Construction Today by Rema Mohan ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
A work in progress… This evolution so carelessly labeled life. Never-ending chapters of ethereal yesteryears Pave the road of existence for yet another day. Dreams, visions and experiences… Architectural designs of some cosmic happenings, Decades in the making, Builds an apex of truths. As though peering through a kaleidoscope While drafting these blueprints, Structure shapes and re-shapes itself As if molded from paper mache. Oddly enough, the heart is molded of glass.
Architecture by O. Pulama Devi
Along the simple line a stream of pebbles on the unruffled forehead of a wall in joyful and large openings. where numerous geometrical shapes border an innovative perception movement meets stillness hey there you are Architecture art and technicality of fantasy and creativity there your beauty resides along the line on a wall and everywhere an essence providing meaning to all forms I proclaim your motionless dance
Forever Designing by Rahul Nair
And once again I erase, Ideas rubbed against the grays of my brain, Obliterated. Drafting a design again, Plotting for the never ending end, Reworking, redesigning, unending. Months and days, weeks and years, Time passed, ideas changing, Crits received, its unending. The endless scribbles, The bloody blotches on butter, more changes, And once again I erase.
Illusions of the Architect’s Mind by Shashank Singal
He looks through his window, upon the city… At the clutter in the street, from his safe retreat … He races to his board, he starts afresh … To realize his dream, in his eyes a gleam … His lines are bold, the strokes are heavy … With passion in his heart, he practices his art … He dances with joy, in his desire he forgets … That men live still, where he drew boulevards …
Man Decides by Anshumali Baruah
Lines on paper, stand out The lines transform into concrete Glass and steel find their places. A domain is defined. Man walks into this domain Feelings of acceptance or refusal accompany him A fate is decided. The domain constructed: Finds its fulfilment in its users Users and activities act as one Thus giving this domain a meaning: A sense of being built. But if this purpose falter The domain degrades Leaving a void in its place. A pain for the creator Irreparable to the user. But would it not be wiser: To include man as the lines are drawn; To indulge him in the choices; And thus arrive at a successful domain Creating harmony for all?
Top image via Construction Lit Mag. For an in-depth analysis of the relationship between architecture and poetry, read Construction editor-in-chief Nicola Fucigna's feature here.