‘Contemporary architecture is generally presented with the phrase “My concept is…”, in which the blank is filled in by some sort of notion: “My concept is freedom”, “My concept is the iPad”, “My concept is the Big Bang”; “My concept is democracy”, “My concept is panda bears”, “My concept is M&M’s”. This statement is then followed by a PowerPoint presentation that begins with M&M´s and ends with round, Pink bungalows on paradisiacal Malaysian beaches. According to Concepts, to design is to find what buildings are: an ontonolgy for dummies that turns banality into spectacle. Concepts are a tool used to justify design decisions in the absence of architecture. Concepts originate from a state of self-inflicted despair in which design needs to be justified point by point, and architecture by definition has no cultural relevance. Concepts presuppose that nothing specifically architectural exists in reality: there are no spatial relationships, no territories and no cities, and it is thus impossible to obtain any knowledge about this phenomenon.’
San Rocco´s 4th issue is dedicated to the analysis and critique of the trend of posing concepts before context in the practice of architecture nowadays. Weather as a justification for design decisions or as a trend towards novelty, concepts in architecture stand as apologies for the emptiness of architectonical values. Concepts claim to translate architecture into an everyday language, ignoring that such translation is impossible since architecture is not about telling a story or representing something external but about modifying the space and the conditions to move, develop and inhabit space. The practice of architecture should turn into the study and understanding of cities and territories, to renew the relationships between humans and space in the practice and not imposing meanings on buildings before they even exist. Members of the editorial board of the Milan based magazine San Rocco will analyze this and other issues.