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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

What is Architecture?

Architecture has aligned itself with fine art and the public considers this purpose a goal it can live without. Architecture, however, is shelter. The public understands the purpose is survival. Furthermore, the public is becoming aware that shelter must be contained within geographic limits to protect its source of life. The goal meets fatalism, pessimism and skepticism, however; because city design involves a correlation of effort, attitude adjustment and vocabulary of intensity that has only recently begun to coalesce into language. Architecture is familiar with correlation but retains a limited focus and vocabulary that is not equal to the debate required.

A symbiotic building is not enough when the goal is symbiotic cities. Architectural design will increase in public significance when talent recognizes this higher purpose. In other words, design must respond to special interest with public benefit that can be measured. I’ve called these measurements “intensity”. City design weaves the intensity of building mass and pavement into the open space, movement and life support systems of urban anatomy. The objective is survival with security and benefit, but a lack of city design has produced few healthy results and far more prevalent dissonance, economic instability and sprawl.

I’ve called the prediction of intensity options and the measurement of existing conditions “development capacity evaluation”. Future options and decisions defined with the vocabulary of intensity will determine our ability to adapt to an increasingly obvious symbiotic mandate. Awards for appearance will always proclaim the presence of fine art, but there must be more to design excellence. Design matters when talent has a purpose. The purpose of architecture transcends the individuality of fine art. Its public significance, however, will depend on its awareness of our shared symbiotic mandate. This is architecture and city design for those who wish to accept the challenge.

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