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Thursday, June 16, 2011


This is a debate I’m having with several participants on the AIAKnowledgeNet over my essay, “Measuring Design Excellence”. There are now individuals from 41 countries reading this blog and I thought I’d include my latest comments from the AIA site. I think you will get the gist of the discussion from these comments.


I hate to belabor this since I think our positions are understood, but I have added a final sentence (to RESPONSE 1) to clarify mine. Most of this is a repeat from my earlier post (RESPONSE 1). The addition is underlined. As a further clarification, I prefer “warm and fuzzy”; but an idea must be connected to reality with more than emotion if it is to be understood by future generations. Inspiration is not knowledge, but it may lead there.


I realized the error of my sentence, "The warm and fuzzy world of artistic opinion is a dead end" and amended it to read:

"The warm and fuzzy world of artistic opinion may be a catalyst but it is not a solution."

There are so many copies of "Measuring Design Excellence" on this site (AIA) because I could not figure out how to edit the original sentence and made a mess in the attempt. The revision is more in line with Mr. Ferris' comment, but I think our opinions diverge because of emphasis. Mr. Ferris emphasizes the building as a singular accomplishment. I know the argument is that the public benefits from this accomplishment as a tenant and observer of fine art, but I believe the emphasis should be on the context this building contributes to the city in which they live. I mentioned that I believe the public lives in the city and survives in buildings. They benefit from both; but if I were trying to convince the public of architectural benefit and value, I would rather emphasize the places created than single out the building mass and pavement introduced to serve a special interest. This emphasizes intensity rather than context. The real public benefit will occur when the context and intensity of architecture shelters the activities of growing populations within a sustainable Built Domain that does not sacrifice their dignity and quality of life. Successful fine art will emphasize the decisions made but it is not a substitute for the decisions needed and the language required.

NOTE: Some of the underlined text has been added since this submission to the AIAKnowledgeNet.

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