4. THE AGENT OF APPEARANCE
Taken together, Arendt’s writings lead us to a conception of the role of architecture as an entity which, while it provides a permanence and stability for the public realm, serves a greater value as a physical appearance within and of this realm. If we accept Arendt’s (and Portmann’s) postulations, then we may apply this corporeal analogy to the building. In so doing, the façade (that which is presented to the exterior) becomes far more than mere cladding, and serves a role far beyond that of protecting the interior. Rather, it is the structure, the services, the interior spaces which serve the façade; all else exists so as to permit the surface to fulfill its role, and to appear. This analogy can be taken one step further: if architecture is at the service of certain functions (clients, institutions, users), and these functions are constantly in need of appearance to assert their being in the public realm, then architecture’s highest aim must be to provide them with this public appearance for the human affairs which will transpire within the privacy of the physical container. Or perhaps it is the other way around: our world of institutions and bodies exists for the creation of appearances to satisfy a basic human need, one which architecture is privileged to satisfy. Our buildings carry the appearance of our public lives, and the memory of their conception.
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