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Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Greatest Invention

I recently watched a television program focusing on the world’s 101 greatest inventions. I tuned-in too late to see the entire list, but the Wheel was number one. The program contended that progress can trace its source to the wheel. I cannot help disagreeing. Our progress began with seven gifts and one invention. The gifts were Food, Water, Light, Land, Air, Fire, and Life. The invention was Shelter from threat.

I don’t believe there would be a Wheel without Shelter; and when Fire was captured, the fire circle became the next great invention. This is why the hearth is such a tradition in the home. It was a place of refuge where progress could be considered. In fact, in my imagination the invention of the fire circle could have stimulated the invention of the Wheel.

Shelter remains our most fundamental concern because demand is a function of population growth on a planet with limited resources. I’d like to close with a quote from my introduction to a new effort. I hope it will represent a contribution to progress.

“At the present time, architectural design is a tactical effort -- in my opinion. At this level the objective is limited to a single project. At the strategic level I have suggested that the goal is shelter for the activities of growing populations within a limited Built Domain that protects their source of life from sprawl and their quality of life from excessive intensity. I for one believe that architectural contributions are needed in the campaign for a symbiotic future, but architecture is unprepared for the responsibility at this time. It has been using a leadership thought process for centuries, but has yet to become a strategic force with the tactical tools and information it has available.”

My intent is to offer a classification system, design specification format, and predictive equations that can expand the tactical methods of architecture and construction to the strategic level needed for shelter design on a planet with limited land and resources.

The equations will predict development capacity options based on the values assigned to their topics. Topic values represent tactical options at the project level and strategic options at the planning level. Options can be evaluated based on topic research at existing locations and accumulated knowledge can be applied to future topic decisions. The goal is to predict realistic shelter options based on a complete set of topics and inter-active relationships. Alternative decisions will affect survival – as they always have.

I've enjoyed this foray into imagination of the distant past. It has served to solidify my opinion of architectural value. I’ll now return to the work at hand.


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