What does architecture mean to you?
We are who, not what.
far beyond the imaginings
of those who would seek to claim us
reaching out across history
to touch you on the shoulder and whisper the breath
of long dead stories
on your many necks.
through a chattering crowd of people
barely making ourselves known yet we scream
so loud we can’t be ignored; the pillars
of axioms and archways positing your history
We watch you pass us by,
Your sands of time falling together to form our bricks; unbiased
in our watching we carry the weight
of your sins on our marble shoulders.
Initials etched into the foundation of humanity,
a last cry to be seen
We are the end
of a long phrase,
the last note
of a melody; final and complete.
Welcoming you home after a long day
the gentle curves of a lived-in home
with worn-out skirting boards and peeling wallpaper,
the coat hooks
nod as you shuffle past,
kicking off your shoes and slumping into the strong warm embrace
of a sagging armchair
We are stability ever-shifting, undefinable
A shining beacon cutting through the grey
we present you with a mirror; a mirror that reflects who we were,
who you are
and who you may become.
We are a conversation
between comfort and a warning, a dichotomy.
to reveal you and show you what you have done and will do,
We will be your future as we have been your past.
We are as much the intricate gold detailing
of the Château de Versailles
as we are the neglected and festering homes
of those who built it.
We represent decadence and deprivation
We have predicted your future;
we have stared through you
and judged you
for the part you have played.
We permanently mar the surface of the earth
an ugly beautiful scar,
and finish your sentences.
We know what you must do
to ensure we don’t outlive you
as we have so many before,
and we ask the question,
will you plug your ears?
and drown out our silent screams?
or finally stop the crowds chattering
and turn to face the reflection of who you have become?
This poem was highly commended in the Rangatahi category of the 2022 Warren Trust Awards for Architectural Writing.
Photo: A double exposure street scene, 1951. The Boston Public Library, via Unsplash