Ugly Buildings, Are Ugly For A Reason

There are nice looking buildings, and unfortunately ugly ones. The ramifications for creating an ugly building means that communities have to live with the results for decades. This simple fact distinguishes Architecture from other professions where a product can be used for a much shorter period of time and then discarded. Because of the financial investment in building, being careful on what you allow to be built is critical to a building’s life and community.
 
Here’s an example of a horrible developer and designer, who was probably a structural engineer or a very unskilled architect. One can just read this residential building and hear the conversation. “Keep it as cheap as possible, but lets add balconies to be a feature that will get people to purchase the units.
 

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The Future City, Our Future Life

Hastened by the rapid growth of humans on this earth, our needs far outpace our ability to think rationally about what is required by us and what is required by our earth. It must be understood that we can not just allow our cities to bleed out and merge with other urban areas indefinitely for a multitude of reasons, the loss of nature, the total inefficiency in first building and then maintaining such a beast, and the probable lack of quality housing which itself needs maintaining.

So if we set goals, perhaps we can address the real issues facing our society.

1) To build in such a way to allow infrastructure to be easily maintained, first by limiting how much infrastructure we build by building it ‘more efficient.’

2) To provide housing that in it’s core can be refurbished without extra effort, to ensure it’s bones serve future generations.

3) To preserve nature, both on the outskirts of urban areas but to incorporate it into those areas.

4) To build housing that serves all the needs of humans, of privacy versus public, of closed versus open, of fully functional while relaxing, interconnected while remaining unique an special in it’s place.

5) To create infrastructure that has built in a highly efficient transportation system for all things, goods, people, utilities, in such a way that they inherently can ensure weather and the elements that normally cause decay, and to do so in a way to encourage identity rather than ubiquitousness.

6) To reinforce hierarchy within our urban environments, to encourage pride and identity of one’s place, in order to help with it’s maintenance.

7) To create vehicular systems that allow quick transportation of all individuals without the need of individual vehicles, but to also offer the infrastructure to support vehicles that can be securely storage from criminal activity and weather, to help ‘ween off’ individuals from their dependency.

8) By removing vehicles from the street scape, to encourage nature scapes within all communities, to fully integrate nature and the urban environment in such a way that reinforces safety and beauty.

While there is always the danger of creating a ‘utopian idea’ that is doomed for failure, the notion that we shouldn’t think about how we plan for the future is pure folly and has obvious ramifications, like heavy taxes to afford maintenance of the monster, air and environmental pollution, horrible neighborhoods and housing, dangerous streets due to overcrowding of vehicles, etc.  There is a way to take what we know about urban living and infuse this with new concepts that both respect the human individual, the environment and the mechanism that is the city to create a balance that is truly functional and beautiful.  Why wouldn’t us humans try to achieve exactly this?

In future  posts, I will break this down with examples for each item, to begin to establish in concrete terms what it means to use efficiency to create a better more affordable world.

Post 9/11 High-Rise Planning for the Freedom Tower

WORLD TRADE CENTER, 9-11-01 Tragedy and our Design Response.

As an Architect and Architectural Designer, I’ve been very interested in what may develop at the World Trade Center Site. Upon review of the 6 alternatives in the July 11th issue of the New York Times, it is very clear to me just who the Architectural firm was who created the schemes were catering to the Developers of the site.

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Welcome to Life


It’s simple, you are here, and let me be the first, after  perhaps your family to say “welcome to life.”  Yes, you.  That person sitting there reading this blog post.  You belong to the greatest thing in the universe, yes you.  You, along with every other citizen, are playing an important role in helping humanity learn about who we are, where they are, and how we belong to this greatness we call life. Continue reading “Welcome to Life”