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Thread: Principles Essential To The Renewal of Architecture

  1. #1
    Cyburbian SGB's avatar
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    Principles Essential To The Renewal of Architecture

    While I usually enjoy Mr. Duany's writings, his choice of writing style in this article really turned me off.

    The repition of "It is essential" just seemed unnecessary, and turned what might otherwise be an important article into a droning soliloqy.

    I entirely lost interest in following his message. In fact, I stopped reading altogether.
    All these years the people said he’s actin’ like a kid.
    He did not know he could not fly, so he did.
    - - Guy Clark, "The Cape"

  2. #2

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    Generic blah blah blah from a man who thinks a little too much of himself. Exemplifies why architects can't be given free reign to follow their "muse," be it wacky blobitechture or pretending they live in a 19th century New England village.

    Oh well, he's accomplished more in his life than I have, so who am I to criticize?

  3. #3
    I have received around ten years of training in Architecture at this stage now, and at least 50 percent of what is said there is pure true. In fact, some of it, I couldn't have said any better myself.

    I have posted it here, and the editor of Archiseek did offer some opinions upon why he started a discussion forum/web site about Architecture. Paul does mention though, how a site such as Archiseek, takes in many more people than only Architects - who as he puts it, aren't the most talkative or forthcoming about themselves or their work. And therefore need writers to write about them.

    I have been dealing with a lot of similar issues to Duany myself and to be honest, if Duany himself had asked me to write a draft for that article I might have produced exactly the same stuff.

    Brian O' Hanlon.

  4. #4
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    I agree with garethace on this one. We need to separate the man from this writing. It might be construed as being an attempt to get more projects for DPZ, but I feel otherwise. Many of the "essentials" are valid. I particularly appreciate the one mentioning that students must be forced to be originals at all costs but rather translate the enormous history of architectural knowledge into the built enviroment.

    As for the style of writing the article, the repetition of essential is, I believe a tool to make it obivous that these are meant to be phrases to quote. As egotisitical as that sounds, what does it matter. They have good substance.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    Let's not be didactic in this profession, because that is a path to disillusion and irrelevancy.

    Six seasons and a movie!

  5. #5

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    But, the problem is, the "essentials" are so generic that they become meaningless. Unless architectural schools are so out there that architects need to return to Freshman level design philosophy again?? Maybe that IS the case, and my criticism is bad

  6. #6
    Architectural Schools ARE seriously out their I am afraid. Only really ego-centric people, who really have big personal opinions and issues with their own identity (even slightly psycho) graduate with highest honours, or at all out of most schools. There is ABSOLUTELY NO body of knowledge whatsoever passed from lecturer to student. That is how students manage to get away with being such crying little shits, the best of them. Yet when you do get out into practice, it isn't like medicine, where working conditions are a big pain - on the contrary, working as an Architect - you can actually make it quite enjoyable if you like, and cut out, go to the local at 5/6 pm every evening. A lot of offices even take more or less a half day on Fridays. But that is the problem too, you can develop too much of an attitude of your own GOD-like presence and skill, without actually having to work very hard. Individualism covers up a lot of the time, or merely substitutes for 'NOT WORKING HARDER'. If in doubt, use an egg shape, always works.

    This isn't a bad little story, that might shine some light, even though Mies was quite individualistic himself, and many Architects did copy that same aspect of his character without being as talented So it is a question of role models really, everyone wants to be Koolhaas, Mies, whoever, and it goes on from one generation to the next, without people asking any real questions anymore. Louis Kahn broke with this trend big time, but perhaps his personality is more of an aquired taste, than some louder personalities out there.

    I have very strong reason, and observation over many years now, that young Architects in college are simply looking to extend "College BOWL" well on into their working lives. There simply isn’t any other professional out there, where you can cultivate as much of your own ego, while still getting paid to do so. I mean most rock stars and sports people quickly pass their primes. An Architect can still ‘Kick the winning goal’ at sixty! And many great Architects have, but where else are those kinds of opportunities to be found for aged men and women? I mean the Rolling Stones, probably one of the biggest bands ever, barely manage to pull it off these days.

    All of these 'professionals' have more than a little bit of 'ego-ism' attached to them, of yearning to be the centre of it all, the hero. But Architecture is just one of the worst of all. At least Doctors save peoples’ lives without blinking, Lawyers put criminals into jail and have to remain calm on the exterior, but Architects mostly just nurse their own very huge but fragile egos in private and perhaps even in public. To receive at least some of the attention they never had, and rightly deserved as individuals in everyday normal life and growing up as teenagers.
    Do young people nowadays become Architects to build buildings, or to facilitate their massive egos about themselves?

    A film that says these things better than any words is one called 'Finding Forrester' starring Sean Connery. The movie is loosely based around a young black teenager growing up in the Bronks in NYC. It is about that young man’s relationship to a certain 'Sallinger' (Catcher in the Rye fame) type of brilliant writer/social recluse played so well by Mr. Connery. I love the part where he marches into the classroom, not having left his own apartment in the Bronks for 30 years, and casually beckons up to the wall of Booker Prize winners, “I’m that one”. (Insert Sean Connery accent please) But like in any good versus evil drama the performance of the 'baddie' is just as sheer class by the actor Ben Kingsley.

    Some other thoughts while I am at it btw

    The ego is the reward schedule, and that is how they motivate themselves, with little rewards along the way. That is why the ego is tolerated, it keeps people going, when it seems Architecture is the worst job in the world.

    Now here comes the cruch for me though, why don't Architects discuss, talk, ask each other? I have 5-6 thousand posts clocked up on Tech web forums, to improve that aspect of my job. I can assure you those forums are far from being easy places to sell your ideas/opinions on anything.

    Advice to profession of Architecture: If necessary buy the knowledge that you require, don't be cheap when it comes to knowledge. Ask your way to success, when you have a good idea, become a negative thinker and put your idea under the scrutiny of people who will rip your idea to shreds.

    Brian O' Hanlon.
    Last edited by garethace; 16 Sep 2003 at 4:24 PM.

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