The Scaffold

Please post your fifteen minute responses (below, under comments) to the article “Doubt and the History of Scaffolding”.  Try to read the article as a poem as opposed to non-fiction. 

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Instructor Wayne State University
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9 Responses to The Scaffold

  1. Cyndi Scheidel says:

    This work is a prime example of what greatly irritates me about many artistic writings – the point is lost in a mumbo-jumbo of obscure words; long wandering pieces. This did enrich my vocabulary, but seriously – entropy, bosco, monad?

    Even so, there are moments of lyricism. But I see tremendous inconsistency. The first part conveys that to be happy we need to be able to pretend something is permanent, but nothing is. At the end, the piece concludes to be happy we want something ephemeral. So which is it?

    The concept that my life will go on = happiness
    Our life is played out on a temporary place, aka a scaffold
    Scaffolds are movable, wandering, mobile, temporary
    To be in space/sited, inside/outside = happiness

    I disagree with some basic concepts. For example, scaffolding is not “detached from the severity of an origin”. To me, scaffolding is totally attached to an origin; without an origin the scaffolding would not exist. Another example, “scaffolding is not specific to a structure or a site” is the antithesis of reality. A scaffold is created to respond to a particular structure or site. Consequently, I have a different view. I believe that gently swaying may make some of us vomit with motion sickness, inspire a fervent desire to hold on tight, rather than make us happy.

  2. Lindsey Olah says:

    At first, I had a difficult time understanding the ideas the writer was trying to get across. I read it again, keeping in mind that it should be read like a poem and I was able to grasp it abstractly…I guess.

    I am very fascinated by the way the writer compared our lives and the way we celebrate our own monumental transitions (weddings, recitals, births, etc…) to the planking of scaffolding. I’m not sure if I can quite agree with it, but fascinating and thought provoking nonetheless.

    Though the scaffolding is very much temporary, it plays such a huge role is the permanent outcome. However, I disagree with Cyndi in that “scaffolding is totally attached to an origin; without an origin the scaffolding would not exist.” While it is very true that without the origin scaffolding would, indeed, not exist, but that does not mean that it is a part of the structure or that it is not “detached from the severity of an origin”. I believe that scaffolding is more of a tool. For example, when changing a tire on a car one must use a car jack to lift and aid in the “reconstruction” of the car. When the tire is fixed, the car is lowered and the jack is removed, as is the scaffolding. The jack is a temporary tool and is not thought of as being a physical part of the car.

  3. Reading this article was interesting yet confusing.
    The author’s exploring of this subject in many different aspects was interesting ; nonetheless, it was difficult and frustrating to try and follow her point throughout the article.

    In the beginning of the article the author starts by saying, “We believe that the object of architecture is to give happiness” but then she continues on to describe “we live on a temporary framework of platforms and poles” and her description of the utilization of these “makeshift planking and platforms” in our daily life is rather negative to the point that she seems almost aggravated at its existence…but understands the necessity of its existence.

    Most of the content of the body was a descriptive approach to explaining scaffolding to the reader (i.e. its shape, safety, role/function, photographical history, its use as a furnishing, and so on) which has nothing to do with her opening and closing paragraphs. The authors wording of the message was quite ambiguous.

    She closes with very descriptive and intriguing comments that make the mind wander,

    …at night we hear the folding rustle
    …we look up and watch it sway
    …in the darkness it is foliage
    …sometimes swinging on special leafy scaffolds we feel compelled to loose our little slipper

    It appears as though she believes that scaffolding serves its purpose of (providing happiness) when needed, but then it vanishes (taking the happiness with it).

    Her final comment:

    “As for us, we too want something that’s neither inside nor outside, neither a space nor a site. In an inhabitable surface that recognizes us, we’d like to gently sway. Then we would be happy.”

    After reading this through to the end … my opinion is

    …although scaffolding is dull, boring and troublesome… its unannounced appearance is a breathtaking representation of new beginnings (rather a breath of fresh air), why live life dwelling about the inanimate, when you can be part of a temporary yet exiting change that provides a little bit of happiness in this world full of troubles.

    It would definitely be interesting to know the state of mind the author was in when she wrote the article to better understand the point she was trying to convey and the struggle she had to convey it.

  4. The reading was highly poetic in nature, but also cleverly written. Scaffolds are what makes up a building, like a skeleton; that’s how I’ve always thought of them. But often, I like to look at the scaffolding more than the building itself, or wish the building could somehow show its exoskeleton because it’s so pretty.

    The author has obviously thought of this, because they write about it as well. Also, the aesthetic qualities of scaffolding–the ‘x’ crisscross shapes that make it look like skin, comparing it to lingerie. “We want something that’s neither inside nor outside.” Scaffolding fits that paradox, the temporary framework that a building becomes, while still still exposing the ‘interior space’ to the outer elements.

    This was written for someone who is familiar with architecture. Were anyone else to just pick up the essay, they might be put off by how intangible the reading comes off initially.

  5. Ashley Laskey says:

    The article is written by the author with true passion in scaffolding which transpired into their writing. Believing the knowledge they have from past and present theories will be the foundations to their work. This is, as stated, “…the object of architecture is to give happiness.” It’s being presented over time through works of ides and which materials to use.

    The article expresses the happiness in comparing scaffolding to everyday knowledge. The idea is placed of wanting something that isn’t inside or outside, having the interior design compliment the outside look of the design. The author gives of a since of the framework being just a step in the scaffolding process. For example, bones to our bodies.

    However, this article was very hard to read and relate the whole way through. I do appreciate the time the author took into making this article, and having their own ideas of scaffolding. Relating the qualities of aesthetics was also observed by the author in scaffolding and the comparison to skin.

  6. banin1 says:

    This is an interesting article because the author posted her information about Scaffold in an amazing way; The author is familiar with architecture because she mixed writing literature and art together. She introduced her writing by “architecture is to give happiness ” this is an important point. If we want to live happy we should use Scaffold in our lives. ” We use the alphabet as ladder”. ” All the cerements of transition take place on such a make shift planking , judgements , executions, funeral, birth and wedding”.
    Scaffold played a role in every way : ” list as in a record , a number , a law , also to enter ,to register , it’s stripe of color”.
    Another point that she indicated that Scaffold is a system not an organism .
    In the end she concluded to be that everything in this life is step-by- step from the beginning to the end .
    “Scaffolding is a step-by-step process that provides the leaner with sufficient guidance until the process is learned.”

  7. Rabih Khalil says:

    “A temporary platform To provide support”, that’s the dictionary definition.
    In the article “Doubt and the history of scaffolding”, the author chose to describe the structure by opening the essay in a poetic way, a means of description that almost humanizes the structure. Like a baby’s perception of life is imagined by a temporary protection that is provided; although this protection is temporary, in the baby’s eye’s, it is permanent and eternal. Although we know that one day the protection will go away, as long as we think about this protection, we are happy.

    The author goes on to describe the impermanence of the scaffold by calling it “Lingerie-esque”, a metaphor on the magnetism of the shell that is meant to be taken off eventually.
    Scaffolding here is compared to a shaded area, protected by tree branches, keeping safe what is fragile inside. The structure is the negative space that protects and frames the complex housed in.
    To the restless architect, the scaffold is a promise. When he looks at the frieze, and see’s the workers dangling legs, the workforce that will finish his work and reveal it, the observation provides him with comfort.
    To the observer, the author goes back to the poetic beginning, to describe the temporary protection that was provided to us, by perceiving it as ephemeral happiness, just by looking at the scaffold sway.

    The author’s intention was to document an “Art” form if you will, a form that is structured and more of an engineering process than an abstract form of art for example. The way she chose to describe it, and the language used, romanticizing the process, is actually pretty interesting.
    In any case, I like this form of writing, I love the complexity, and the fact that it picks at your brain while reading it. New words to learn are a good plus too.

  8. Konrad Tenwolde says:

    The Scaffold was filled with many interesting words and ideas. It seemed the writer was trying to say scaffolding can be compared to our daily lives in the fact that it changes and can be changed quite easily. This part makes sense because within our lives everyday new things happen and we react accordingly. However the piece speaks to the fact that we as humans want to find happiness and in the end that happiness is like the swaying scaffold. Wouldn’t it be better to not sway to be firm in whatever you invest in or have part in? Scaffolding is a necessary tool to reach a final objective it may well represent life as the writer mentions life occasions being the planks to the scaffolding, but ultimatley what is being built underneath the scaffolding is most important. I see the scaffolding as a life tool us using this technique to reach our goals to reach our potential. The parts of our lives are parts of the completed building and the scaffolding is only .necessary to get there. To be happy with what we’re building is important.

  9. Jessica Haj says:

    Scaffolding has a deep history in terms of years, although there hasn’t been much documentation recorded on its behalf. Most of the history of scaffolding comes from a series of photographs, basically a visual description of the “art” some might say. Scaffolding originates from the word “Scalado” meaning “to storm by mounting a wall by ladders”. Many believe that the performing of the art of scaffolding is to give happiness. The uses of scaffolds are almost unlimited, possibly as far as the mind can drive with imagination. Some uses that have been historically popular are ceremonial use such as planking, judgments or executions also banquets and symposia. Scaffolding is said to be like an analogy, it is practically a wall without being a wall or so it explains. Three things have distinguished the description of its technique; it is a furnishing, it is a skin and it is a grove. Scaffolding to the people who build it is more than just an art or a building; they have a spiritual connection with the architecture. Some ever say that Scaffolding supports the desires of their bodies. Scaffolding substitutes for a site, it transforms and atmosphere into a screen or a condition of access. The connection that some have with scaffolds is like no other connection, it allows the people who build them to take pride in the art, to personalize it, to befriend it and admire it. Of course for the time being because this piece of art is only temporary.

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