ABSTRACT

Chapter 5 explores the relationship between meaning and surface and investigates how official narratives linked to originality and authorship are increasingly excluding communities in the definition of their own heritage. Craft, manufacture, material specificity and social appreciation are some of the topics we will deepen, revealing that aesthetics is not simply appearance (Pye, 1968), and functionality is not simply technical (Benjamin, 1936). The case studies presented here, the Grade I listed church of St. Pancras and the Whitechapel Gallery, reveal ideas about the practicality of art and the fetishisation of craft technique. Their stories are representative of how the changes that always concern architecture have material and social consequences born out of selection and constraint and affect the way we understand and engage with place.