ruminations about architecture and design

Monday, September 30, 2013

about that location thing

Okay, yesterday I made a passing reference to the phrase "if we built it, they will come" and now I find myself wondering how valid that is for circumstances of successful architecture. Location is terribly, terribly real, but it involves factors that transcend physical geography. What I am referring to can roughly be described as "social location" and it is the sum total of all the people who are in a place, as well as the people who want to go to that place. Sentimentality also plays a role, because we assign a value to the people who used to be in a place--i.e. Elvis is Graceland.

But what about the architecture? Surely it plays a role? I contend that the role of architecture in place making is more temporary than the people--past/present/future. Too much emphasis on the architecture of a place makes the person less valuable, and can have a negative impact on the value the architecture returns to people. We value Pompeii because it is a ruin, and its worth can be assigned to its destruction and subsequent  re-discovery and preservation. There can be no talk of restoring the city to its glory.

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