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Category: AESTHETICS


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Wearable Architecture

Wearable Architecture
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The walls are closing in. Around 1900 it suddenly dawned upon architects that the market for Palladian knock-off mansions in picturesque countryside was getting smaller and smaller. There simply weren’t enough landed gentry to go around. A crop of newly rich industrialists brought about a short-lived rebound in the late-19th century but sooner or later new […]

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Notes on Scale

Notes on Scale
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In class last Tuesday I showed some images I thought would help students understand the concept of scale. I explained that the buildings in the image on the left below are of different size but the same scale and the one on the corner in the right image on the right is of the same […]

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Simple Construction

Simple Construction
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Less Is More This is the one that started it all. Less Is More is taught and widely believed – whichever came first – to be what mid-20th century architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe claimed of his architecture. I learned just then that the phrase was first used by poet Robert Browning in his […]

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Aesthetic Efficiency

Aesthetic Efficiency
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Prompted by this empty space outside a mall, I asked a few posts back if invisible design was an oxymoron. Despite having no obvious indicators of design, this empty space enables all the feelgood benefits we like to think more visible design can provide. It enables so much for so little obvious design input and […]

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The Art of Writing

The Art of Writing
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The Chinese and Japanese take calligraphy to another level despite their languages being very different. For decades I believed the Japanese adopted the Chinese system of writing to flesh out their existing alphabet in the sixth century but I recently learned that Japanese was 100% written in Chinese characters in the early eighth century and […]

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Comfort Zone

Comfort Zone
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This post is the first part of an article that appeared under the title Comfort Zone in the #1_20 issue of ADATO, Luxembourg’s only architecture journal. The issue theme was Architecture + Medicine. My working title came from Richard Hamilton’s famous 1956 collage. I’m not sure why. It could be that architecture is just a […]

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End of the Road

End of the Road
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This post originally appeared in ADATO magazine (Issue 2, 2019), with the title Sundowner. An alternative title was Sunset Effect, the name given to one final, fleeting show of exuberance before something disappears completely. The title of this post, End of the Road, is another way of saying the same thing. Sundowner “I had the […]

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It’s Just Design

It’s Just Design
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A colleague tells a story of how she once asked a student why they made a certain design decision and the student replied “I don’t know. It’s just design.” It’s difficult to comprehend this as I’ve always thought of design as something requiring no small amount of knowledge and skill together with an understanding of […]

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Carbon Offset

Carbon Offset
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It’s end of semester and students around the world are having to justify their design choices. Some will rely on case studies to substitute for experience while others will depend upon the facticity of ambient site criteria. Still others will attempt to justify their design choices using statistics gleaned from surveys. All these methods have […]

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The Hexagon [a eulogy]

The Hexagon [a eulogy]
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Buildings in which we conduct our lives are mostly structures created from rectiliniar elements joined at right angles. Many find this boring – the implication being that buildings have an obligation to entertain and amuse. This leads to yet another restatement of the building-architecture divide. “Buildings are boring. Architecture isn’t.” Architecture is thus granted licence […]