ruminations about architecture and design

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

yoda was right

Size matters not--unless you happen to be an architect or a historian. The bias towards size seems to be fundamentally human, and it's a consequence of visibility. A lion is visible and large--a microbe, not at all. The latter is far more dangerous and significant, but because we can't see it we don't know about it.

All architecture is visible, but even within that truism there are some shades of grey. We identify a Greek temple as a robust and important building type, and overlook its near complete irrelevance as a shelter. Single family homes have been shunted aside by most architects, but they constitute the place where Americans spend most of their time. The architectural experience for the past hundred years has been defined by the relative success of environmental control systems. We expect buildings to be the right temperature, have artificial lighting, communication systems, and running water. Without these critical elements, a building ceases to be important (unless it is the subject of some avant-garde art magazine--"Look, Ye Masses--The House With No Water!")

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