Framing the Scene/Cavafy


In simple clothes
he dressed himself quickly and left:
doing just as an actor does
who, when the performance is over,
changes his attire and departs.

“King Demetrius,” C.P. Cavafy

Like any woman or man who arrives on the scene, the architect frames it. And like any storyteller, the architect constantly needs a new hook, a new scoop, a recrafted fiction that is neither lie nor truth. The question will be: for just how long will she stick to her story? To leave it too early is fickle, to stick to it too long is drudgery, at least for the listener.

Sigmund Freud might have started the modern disrobing of the architect into an anodyne metaphor for other operators. He once reduced architecture to scaffolding, a frame that was not the thing itself but rather the frame that metered out something else and that came down when it had served its purpose. I’ve often wondered, though, what the other thing might be. When the performance is over, what is left?

For Yale School of Architecture’s Paprika, February 2017