Nature of Architectural Performance
performance In a recent essay, the architectural critic and professor David Leatherbarrow has argued for a shift in architectural practice and theory, “from what the building is to what it does.” His call echoes a transformation in architectural practice. Be it representational (BIM), material (digital fabrication), or even sustainable (revised building codes), architects today are very much focused on performative practices. Still, one must judge between one “performance” and another. Further, the reduction of performance to quantifiable data seems to miss an opportunity for architecture to be more than information. How does one quantify the “performance” of a symphonic work, for example? It is interesting to note that a similar discussion regarding architectural performance was ongoing in the eighteenth century. A careful look into this discussion offers a new perspective on the relationship between architecture and performance today and, perhaps even, the role of history in making.