Architeckton is the Greek word for master builder. The ancient masterbuilder was trained in all phases of design and construction. His responsibility extended well beyond the architectural design. He was the overseer of the entire project, from concept, design through construction. This was clearly well before the age of specialization, government regulations and professional liability insurance.
Many great structures through the present date continue to exemplify the concept of full integration of the arts. We no longer employ the term master builder and we identify ourselves according to particular fields of primary involvement, down to the most specific I've come across, drapery specialist.
What appeals to me is the architecture and the interior strike a perfect balance, which is especially difficult when working within the context of historical buildings, like the Berliner Reichstag, by Norman Foster and Partners.
The view at the top is a panorama taken inside the new dome structure, which in the image below is seen behind the entry portico peeking above the portico.
The Parthenon is as good as it gets and the Reichstag is way up there. They are cultural monuments built for lofty purposes. They, however, set the standards by which we mere mortals aspire to achieve if even on a tiny scale.
What I've observed in my years practicing in the design industry is a disconnect between architects, interior designers and engineers to the point that I wonder if they ever spoke to each other. The results are disconcerting; a euphemism for mind-boggling.
Take for instance the iconic and controversial Watergate building in DC.
The Watergate, despite being located in very conservative Washington, DC, was very much at the forefront of architectural and urban planning when it was designed and built in the late 1960's. Cultural and historical significance was achieved in the 70's Watergate Scandal, which led to President Nixon's resignation. A different kind of iconography is represented in the photo of an apartment interior. If the design of the ceiling is a hint of what was removed, it was likely a shrine to Marie Antoinette's Versailles, or was it created as a rehearsal hall for the famed rendition of Madonna's Vogue?
Visual puns aside, there is a strong disconnect between the building and what remains of the opulent interior. Heavily brocaded, silk-lined, perhaps motorized drapes would have hidden the floor to ceiling sliding doors; and carefully placed reproduction antiques would have prevented bodily damage by walking in to the chandeliers of what was certainly an opulent, rococo inspired interior. By the same token, I cannot imagine a horse-drawn carriage was the means of transportation preferred by its former occupants.
I have no problem with decoration. In fact, life is full of it and it gives us much pleasure, down to the watch we select to wear on our wrist. It's a free architectural and design world too and we all have a right to personal preferences. My intent is to point out what I consider purposeful design that is worthy of praise and emulation and its' counterpart.