Thoughts on the Gross
- Publication Date
- October 31, 2019
When architecture is a product of function, disgust is a product of its dysfunction. The gross is an architecture of failure. It is a leaking pipe and stains on the paprika carpet. It is uncanny, but it is familiar. It is architectural abjection.
Successful architecture functions first as Heidegger’s hammer, existing most often as ready-to-hand. Here, it functions within expectation as a hammer that can successfully accomplish the task of driving a nail. In the ready-to-hand state, the hammer operates within the subconscious, conforming to the subject-object relationship of most tools and their users. When the hammer stops functioning, it becomes present-at-hand, which forces the user to acknowledge its presence. It is at this moment that an object becomes a thing, and the user becomes concerned with the bare facts of its thingness, allowing then for it to be fully considered.
Successful architecture is an architecture of the subconscious. It is ready, not present. But what, then, can be learned from an architecture of failure? If we don’t consider a pipe until it leaks, what does that say about our relationship to the pipe? Are we still the subjects, or are we its objects?
 Heidegger, Martin. Being and Time.
United States: Stellar Books, 2013.