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Monday, January 9, 2012

Examining Architecture: Part 2

This essay replaces, “More Examining Architecture” originally published in October, 2010. “Examining Architecture” has been re-titled, “Examining Architecture: Part 1”

In Part 1 of this essay I focused on the architectural process, but should have mentioned that the current process primarily involves tactical decisions. This effort is generally undertaken to accomplish the strategic objectives of a land owner. It is a tradition that is as old as our presence on the planet.

Instinct tells us we must take, hold, develop and defend land to survive; but instinct has not adapted to success. The old formula is now encouraging an artificial Built Domain to threaten the life support provided by a Natural Domain that does not compromise with ignorance

Shelter is an essential element of survival. It must expand with growing populations, but it's a parasite. We have found successful relationships in nature and have named them “symbiotic”, but have ignored the relevance of these discoveries.

Symbiotic survival is now a global policy decision. It requires that we establish balance between the Built Domain and its source of life – The Natural Domain. There is no greater challenge. Medicine, for instance, will become irrelevant if we fail, which is entirely possible given the diversity of opinion and hubris involved. 

The Built Domain contains a Built Environment that must not expand beyond Domain limits defined by science. This environment contains Shelter, Movement, Open Space and Life Support Divisions. Shelter is a catalyst that is served by the other three. 

Shelter means survival, but I have just mentioned that it must be constructed within a limited Built Domain whose boundaries protect the planet’s Natural Domain. If we are to respect these limits we must learn more about the relationship of intensity to open space within the Built Environment, since these relationships will determine our quality of life. 

If the policy is “symbiotic” and the strategy is “city design”, the tactics of architecture will determine our success in the field - and this is where issues are finally resolved. 

Strategy is found at all levels of decision-making, but can be confused when the LEVEL is not recognized. “Examining Architecture” emphasized the tactical level of architectural decisions. The strategic level is city design. It will require advanced research and education, but there is a need to enter the Symbiotic Period of civilization; and architecture is qualified if it chooses to mobilize in response to the challenge.

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