chapter  1

Introduction

There are very few architects who regard architecture as a thing. The modern American architect Louis Kahn was one. There once was a town in eastern Czechoslovakia called Poruba. The Poruba town was built in the 1950s in the Social Realist style: monumental, Neoclassical and grand. The entrance to Poruba is even marked by an inhabited triumphal arch, worthy of the precedents of ancient Rome, or at least eighteenth-century St Petersburg. What the story of Poruba illustrates is that of cause and effect. The cause and effect is not the mere husbandry of flowers but the whole creation of a world, a socio-political construction, a human idea for humans, or series of ideas, in consecutive operation for generations of different humans under variously auspicious circumstances. Both architecture and cuisine prefigure any culture's destruction. As soon as we have got architecture or cuisine, it could be said you are doomed, and henceforth it's a struggle, a struggle to hold it together.