architects tie bows backwards

The architect’s bowtie is emblematic of many of the paradoxes of the profession. Taoists note that many things contain their opposite. Some qualities of the architect are closely aligned with their opposites.

The bowtie stands for the architect’s professional status     and      the architect’s clown status

architect as clown: or "Mickey Mouse"

The bowtie stands for architecture as serious business

wooden as in serious

and         architecture in bed with art and design, fanciful and fun

The bowtie stands for the architect’s technical expertise (it requires some technique to arrange);

and       the architect’s  (sartorial) incompetence.  The bowtie can be an easy fix.

Instant bowtie

The bowtie speaks (volumes) of the architect’s love of  3 dimensional forms.It announces the architect’s love of the FOLD

A bowtie, like the modernist cube, is simple,  yet can have origami like complexity and wit.

See this commentary on architecture and the Deleuzian fold.

The fold is the general topology of thought… ‘inside’ space is topologically in contact with the ‘outside’ space… and brings the two into confrontation at the limit of the living present.

Like DNA or the mobius strip, the bowtie reminds us of the interconnectedness of inside and outside, form and function.

mobius strip

The bowtie is the 3 dimensional equivalent of the palindrome: a word that reads the same backwards. A word like ‘racecar’ or ‘nun’.  Or a phrase like this one (mantra of the angry  waiter):

Stressed   no tips – spit on desserts

The bowtie is not just the same backwards, but it also remains the same upside down. As in the palindrome NOON.

The palindrome/bowtie logic is appropriate for architects any which way you look at it. Architects are accustomed to being f…ed over from various directions and heroically manage to function with dignity no matter what position they end up in.

It is also an appropriate emblem as they are often ‘lefties’ (left handed), hard wired to see things differently. As architects’ wives will know (after years of  co-navigating with their upside down inside out partners), architects often have issues sorting out left from right.

a moment of left/right confusion has terrible consequences

A significant proportion of architects and designers have been dyslexic. Which gives this blog some immunity as architects are likely to look only at the pictures.

model of le corbusier car



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