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Category: MYTHS

architectural ideas that persist despite lack of evidence or usefulness


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Architecture Myths #18: The Free Plan

Architecture Myths #18: The Free Plan
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Like me, you probably first heard about the free plan in connection with this sketch by the man his mother knew as Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris. Or maybe it was this 1929 house with a basement. Let’s take a closer look at that famous plan, free to wriggle around inside its cage. POINT #1: Freedom has little meaning when the cage is so accommodating. […]

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Architecture Myths #17: Genius Loci

Architecture Myths #17: Genius Loci
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The ancient Romans believed genius loci was the protective spirit of a place. Here’s genius in the middle, fresco-bombed by a serpent circa 70BC Pompeii.  These days we’re too modern to believe in spirits. Instead, we like to think genius loci refers to a place’s distinctive atmosphere or feel or spirit, rather than any guardian spirit per se. In […]

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Architecture Myths #16: Memes

Architecture Myths #16: Memes
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Over at spacelab‘s imho, Luca Silenzi posted some ideas on why our brightest and best seem to keep coming up with the same ideas. He proposed the concept of architectural memes. Two examples he used to illustrate the concept were the pixellated building and the mountain building. OMA’s 2009 Stadskantoor building is an example of a pixellated building, as is MVRDV’s 2009 DnB […]

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Architecture Myths #15: Intellectual vs. Romantic

Architecture Myths #15: Intellectual vs. Romantic
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I glossed over the apparent dichotomy of  “intellectual” and “romantic” in my previous post but Classical vs. Romantic and Intellectual vs. Artist would have done just as well. Classical vs. Romantic can be applied to many things of which architecture is one, and we know Intellectual vs. Artist can be applied to many types of people. To divide architects and, by corollary, […]

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Architecture Myths #14: The Difficult Whole

Architecture Myths #14: The Difficult Whole
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The phrase “the difficult whole” comes at us via Robert Venturi, as quoted by Jean La Marche’s in “The Familiar and the Unfamiliar in Twentieth-century Architecture”, with reference to Venturi’s “Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture”. The important bits are “the difficult whole is “the difficult unity through inclusion rather than the easy unity of exclusion”. I guess this is […]

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Architecture Myths #13: Field Space

Architecture Myths #13: Field Space
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Field space is the (heh heh) cornerstone of Parametricism so let’s find out what it’s all about. First thing – how did fields suddenly become so cool? Classical fields are functions defined over some region of space and time. There’s gravity – described by a Newtonian gravitational field, and electromagnetism –described by electrical and magnetic fields. Here’s that magnetic field we all […]

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Architecture Myths #11: Lowly Building Types

Architecture Myths #11: Lowly Building Types
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Peter Behrens supposedly had the idea first – take a lowly building type and “elevate” it to Architecture. 1909 hmm. I’m surprised it wasn’t earlier. By 1909, wealthy landowners had all but died out, or were soon about to. The smart money would have been on wealthy industrialists – especially ones who produced light bulbs, […]

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Architecture Myths #10: Learning from Nature

Architecture Myths #10: Learning from Nature
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So what’s left then to ‘learn’ from Nature? We’re still very quick to want to do it but what have we ‘learned’ so far? It’s time for a quick roundup. In the not-so-dark ages before Architecture was invented, people managed to work out how to build buildings that suited how they wanted to live, using […]

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Architecture Myths #9: Clean Lines

Architecture Myths #9: Clean Lines
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This post is about how aircraft maker Sukhoi treats every aircraft it makes as a prototype for the better performance of the next one. Go here if you want information on arms and armament control systems. That’s another story. This story is about ROCKET SCIENCE. Sukhoi SU-27 It begins with the Sukhoi SU-27 of 1985. […]

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Architecture Myths #8: Convenience

Architecture Myths #8: Convenience
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In the first few decades of the twentieth century, the general unhealthy conditions in much ‘worker’ housing were a major concern for certain architects wishing to make life better for those people. Housing was making people sick, mainly due to the lack of ventilation and natural light. As we saw with the building featured in […]

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Architecture Myths #7: Purity of Form

Architecture Myths #7: Purity of Form
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1976 was quite a year for houses in Japan. There was Toyo Ito’s White U which we’ve already seen. There was Kazuo Shinohara’s House in Uehara – a steady favourite of mine, for reasons I may one day post. And there was Tadao Ando’s Sumiyoshi House. This next photo was quite popular at the time, although […]

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Architecture Myths #6: Maximising Views

Architecture Myths #6: Maximising Views
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http://www.halconrealestate.com/propertydetails/residential/sales/133934.xhtml That’s about US$400,000 for a 900 sqft. one-bedroom. Infinity Tower is due to be completed this October and was featured in the recent 2013 Cityscape Abu Dhabi Magazine. Designed by global architecture and design firm Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM), the tower includes luxury residential units, parkng, and retail outlets. Its most distinctive and […]

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Architecture Myths #5: A is to B as B is to A+B

Architecture Myths #5: A is to B as B is to A+B
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Let’s not bother with facts and definitions as we all know what we’re talking about here. However – and I’ll return to this – the A-series paper sizes are not trying to look beautiful. Here’s one of many websites devoted to the Golden Proportion. I’m not the first to blog about the cult or myth of the Golden Ratio. […]

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Architecture Myths #4: Gardens in the Sky

Architecture Myths #4: Gardens in the Sky
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A recent burst of pre-completion publicity for the Bosco Verticale in Milan came with a strong sense of seen-beforeness. This image is from the website of the architect, Stefano Boeri. The following press release can be seen on florafocuseu, inhabitat, jetsongreen, earthtechling, etc. etc. Bosco is Italian for forest. The Bosco Verticale consist of two towers covered in trees and shrubs. From […]