Christian Long

Moshe Safdie: Building Uniqueness

In TED Talks on April 25, 2010 at 10:51 pm

Reflection by CAROLINE M.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

Moshe Safdie:  Building Uniqueness

I found Moshe Safdie’s expression through his ideas in architect quite compelling.

It was intriguing how he managed to consider all elements and aspects in his designs. He would acknowledge what the museum, which is what he spoke most of during his talk, was going to exhibit and play off of that.

For example, in the children’s memorial museum in a Holocaust museum in Jerusalem, he took the elements of darkness and light and toyed with them. When you entered there were victim’s faces and then you would be lead to a room with a single candle light that was reflected to make an indescribable beauty that held a representation. Then you would be led outside, into blinding light. I believe that Safdie was symbolizing life, love, and the fire inside a child. No matter what darkness surrounds their flame it can always bring light into an abyss of darkness.

“But it seems to me that all this, in one way or the other, is a search for beauty. Beauty in the most profound sense of fit.”

Moshe Safdie understands beauty in the way I like to understand it, that all of our surroundings and the place we are at makes something remarkable and not so much the thing itself.

My teacher, Mr. Long, once said something along the lines of: we can take the same picture with the same people a thousand times and no one cares about the people in the picture. It’s what we see in the background that interests us. We don’t care about what’s obvious or what’s being sold; we are inclined to be biased by what something is encompassed by.

Architecture is actually really important, and while I was watching this video I suddenly realized that. When Safdie concluded with beauty and how he defines it, a light bulb went off in my head. To be honest, midway through the talk, I felt as if I already knew what he was going to conclude with. I got the message he was trying to convey:

“He who seeks truth shall find beauty.”

This part of the poem that Safdie wrote reminded me of the video by Nick Veasey called, “Exposing the invisible”, that I did a blog post on. Nick Veasey’s occupation was a form of art where he took X-rays of things that were not so beautiful to the human eye and exposed the truth and what was underneath so that it became beautiful. It seems that share the quality of the appreciation of nature and how understanding its elements can provide the extra push to make an extraordinary piece of art or architecture just that much more special.

I really enjoyed this TED talk, even if it was on something like architecture. It’s a field of work that can be overlooked; I overlooked it. I deemed it boring and simplistic, and didn’t really comprehend how large of an affect it had on the popularity and success of a building. The first impression or introduction of a building is crucial to how you’re going to see the inside of it. Although we tend to try and tell ourselves to not read a book by its cover, in this case it’s alright to do so.


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