Stephen Von Worley

Functionally Structural

For days, the rainforest sky cascaded in sheets. Crouched in the underbrush, a shivering proto-human stared at a palm frond, watching intently as it cupped and shunted the rain. Curious, he tugged a leaf overhead. A pleasant warmth enveloped his brain stem. Hastily, he grabbed more leaves and draped them in the branches above. Of survival, the first man-made shelter was born.

Sprouting societies yielded permanent and differentiated structures. Farming begat the barn – worship, the church – commerce, the road and market – and cities, halls of government, sidewalks, and sewers. Industry and technology drove further specialization – factories, airports, radio towers, and so on – weaving the intricate architectural web that surrounds us today.

The ubiquity of the modern structure sometimes clouds its utilitarian roots. Each is a functional monument to a need, satisfied via ingenuity, aesthetic desire, and force.

Functionally Structural is a series of black-and-white medium format film studies that explore the broad spectrum of man-made structures.

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