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Wednesday, January 21, 2015


Dear Sir: You asked two very relevant questions: 

1)      ”… should we not be convincing the public of our sincerity? Maybe our efforts are misdirected and not focused on repairing the theses of LeCorbusier and Wright.”  

2) “…The question in my mind is whether our professionalism has been and will continue to be compromised by out sourcing to others?” 

My answer to both questions is yes, and I don't mean to be impertinent. We are all reluctant to part with money if we don’t believe in benefit from the expense. It doesn’t mean that we’re right. It’s a function of perception. If the public is convinced of value, they may even be willing to mandate the service. This depends on the argument. I think you can tell that I don’t believe the argument is adequate at the present time.  

Architecture will continue to be compromised by outsourcing until it convinces the public of its unique ability to provide benefit equal to cost and value. 

I’m sending you my argument to support the claim that architecture will provide public benefit when it expands its point of view and adopts the tools needed to create the knowledge required.  

I sent Mike an older copy of this argument. It has many facets and is part of Chapter 6 in the book I’m working on. I asked him to only use it with attribution. I’m sending you updated text for your review because of your interest, and I also ask that you only use it with attribution.  

I’ve returned to Chapter 6 because of the current AIAKnowledgeNet discussion.


The lesson from Chapters 3 and 5 was that a generic forecast model can predict development capacity and intensity for any specific activity when an activity module is attached to translate unique characteristics into the common values expected by the master equation in an architectural algorithm.  


These algorithm examples were based on the following propositions: 


1)      That the planet is not a world without end

2)      That our finite planet is protected by a thin veil of atmosphere at risk

3)      That this planet is a source of life that can be polluted, depleted and consumed

4)      That pollution, depletion and consumption are characteristics of a parasite that lacks a symbiotic relationship with its host.

5)      That we are faced with two worlds on a single planet: the Built Domain and the Natural Domain.

6)      That the Natural Domain is an unstable source of life in an infinite, unstable universe

7)      That the Built Domain includes the Shelter, Movement, Open Space and Life Support Divisions.

8)      That the Built Domain is slowly consuming the Natural Domain with sprawl.

9)      That a sprawling Built Domain includes a Shelter Division that is an aggregation of individual projects.

10)   That shelter capacity is also referred to as development capacity or building capacity in total square feet per acre.

11)   That development capacity introduces various levels of intensity within the Shelter Division of the Built Domain.

12)   That development capacity and intensity measurement, evaluation and prediction will allow us to evaluate our ability to shelter growing populations within a geographically limited Built Domain while protecting their quality of life.

13)   That the ability to measure and evaluate shelter capacity and intensity can produce knowledge to defend design decisions in a scientific language. 


1)      That architecture defines a strategy to achieve an owner goal. This goal, when constructed, becomes part of the Shelter Division of the Built Domain. (This strategy is called “design” by architects and involves the correlation of work by many allied professions to produce a contract for bidding and construction of a shelter project. The project is a prototype designed to suit the unique requirements of the owner.)

2)      That the majority of shelter projects are not currently defined by architects.

3)      That architecture includes the context, composition, form, function and appearance of a shelter project strategy.

4)      That shelter projects aggregate to form the Shelter Division of the Built Domain.

5)      That the Shelter Division must accommodate growing populations within geographic limits to protect their source of life

6)      That the shelter capacity of a limited Built Domain is equal to the capacity of its constituent parts

7)      That shelter capacity alternatives emerge from architectural design decisions to produce intensity options.

8)      That a new ability to measure, evaluate, and forecast development capacity and intensity is based on architectural algorithms.

9)      That architectural language can be used to evaluate development capacity and intensity decisions.

10)   That the ability to measure and evaluate development capacity and intensity will produce knowledge

11)   That invisible development capacity and intensity design decisions create a foundation for the context, composition, form, function and appearance of architectural solutions.

12)   That architectural form, function and appearance must blossom from symbiotic policies and solutions.

13)   That the physical appearance, social activity and economic stability of a Built Domain will reflect the city design policies and shelter projects created.

14)   That these policies and projects are needed to achieve the third leg in the holy trinity of city planning (The original term was “welfare”. Unfortunately, the term has become political. The term “quality of life” seems to have become a replacement.) 

Architectural Imperative 

An architectural strategy must combine with a planning strategy to achieve economic stability and an improved quality of life within a limited Built Domain. Nothing less than shelter and survival is at stake. 


1)      We can solve climate change and still consume the planet with growth called “sprawl”.

2)      Economic growth is currently symbolized by physical sprawl sheltering social and economic conflict.

3)      Improved knowledge can help us learn to shelter the activities of growing populations within geographic limits that protect:

a.      Their source of life from extinction,

b.      Their quality of life from excessive intensity, and

c.       Their economic life from misallocation of land use activity that produces financial instability

4)      Design matters because we must learn to live within geographic limits and function symbiotically. (Form and appearance must eventually follow symbiotic function. This is the message of hope from Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright. It is a level of awareness that can lead to a Symbiotic Period of collaborative effort.
5)      The Symbiotic Period will be symbolized by the compostion, context, capacity, intensity, function, form and appearance of city design divisions within a limited Built Domain.

City Planning Goals

  • To protect our source of life by geographically defining the Built and Natural Domains.
  • To coordinate the land use allocation of shelter capacity and intensity; movement corridors; open space; and life support systems within a limited Built Doman that protects our source of life; our quality of life; and the financial stability of our shared municipal organizations.

City Design Goal

To shelter growing populations within a limited built Domain tht protects their quality and source of life - the Natural Domain.

Architectural Goals

  • To coordinate land use allocation with shelter capacity, ntensity and economic benefit at the project level, since the aggregation will determine our quality of life within a limited Built Domain.
  • To improve the design of shelter context, composition, capacity, intensity and symbiotic function within a geographically limited Built Domain.
  • To improve the tools, knowledge and concepts needed to achieve the preceding goals.
  • To expand private practice into the public domain and workplace by offering the ability to improve public benefit

Common Collaborative Goal

To build a network (of professional organizations) to achieve the preceding goals through research, collaboration, education and practice.

In This Book
You will learn how to measure, evaluate and forecast development capacity and intensity for six architectural design categories with a credible scientific language. These categories encompass the generic spectrum of available shelter options within the Built Domain.
The Implications
The appearance of planning, city design, urban design and architectural project goals will be judged by many related professions. The physical, social and economic success of these efforts will be evaluated by the population. If successful, the results will symbolize a new period of symbiotic awareness in our attempts to protect the public health, safety and welfare.

Thank you for your kind response. I omitted much from Chapter 6 and hope you will find that this work should be required reading for architects as well as city planners, geographers, landscape architects, real estate developers and so on. Architects must bridge the gap to public benefit with a common language capable of building credible knowledge. The architectural archives of all architects represent a treasure trove of information that must be translated and evaluated before it can be applied by architectural practitioners. I am 71 years old and was once a member of the AIA, AICP and NCARB. I agree with everything you say from a lifetime of experience and commitment. My work on the architectural algorithms for this book is done. I just have to explain it and this is taking a great deal of time.

Your third paragraph is something I wish I had written. The greatest unrecognized lesson learned in architecture is correlation. This is leadership, but leadership needs a goal worthy of the effort. Architects are leaders that have limited objectives. Think of it in military terms and it becomes easier to understand. In WWII the goal was set by Roosevelt and Congress. The strategy was created by Marshall, Eisenhower and central command. The objectives were achieved by field commanders. In architecture the policy goal is missing and there is no central command strategy that will convince the population of public benefit, in my opinion. This leaves field commanders (architects) defining strategies to achieve limited objectives with no policy goal and strategy. It is like Patton roaming Europe with no direction.

You said, "My concern is that we are too timid to stand up for what is right and correct. Also, that by abdicating our leadership role we give the creativity which is part of our professionalism to others LESS talented." There are two important points here and I’ll take them in reverse order.

An architectural education improves the ability to reason. The claim that architects have more talent does not sell on Main Street. Talent is applied to reason to create form and appearance. Architects have not focused on their ability to reason nor sold it to the general public because their language is inadequate and they ignore programming as the starting point for architectural reason. Their explanation of solutions is weak as a result and this weakens their competitive position in the marketplace. Their strength will come from a universal goal, a universal strategy, and a language that does not depend on emotion when addressing the public.

What is “right and correct” is a political issue that defines the nature of a culture. Religion often has a modified version and the two reflect the conflicted nature of man.

Regarding timidity, architects have a very limited marketplace of work opportunities and a negative reference can have a very damaging impact. They work at the pleasure of partners as draftsmen and women after graduating from years of education. (Call it an “apprenticeship” or an associate AIA member if you like, but graduation from college as an apprentice is an abuse of the intelligence and ability they bring to the table.) Their opportunity to become a partner is extremely limited and partially a function of a very uncertain economy. It is no wonder they are timid. These are very real problems that need to be addressed by the format of professional education and practice.

I like your terms “inward knowledge” and “excitement of discovery”. I also agree with your municipal government frustration having once been a local Director of Development and a Deputy Director of the Ohio Department of Transportation. Inward knowledge requires a public explanation with an adequate language. This is what my book is about. Excitement of discovery is why we remain committed to the world of architecture, and it requires a combination of reason and appearance that has not been explained with an adequate language.

I’ve gone on long enough, but you raise questions that are at the heart of the need to “reposition” architecture as one of many armies needed to shelter growing populations within a limited Built Domain that protects their quality and source of life – the Natural Domain. Reason will lead to success. Talent will symbolize success. The secret is a new level of awareness, knowledge and language that can overcome timidity, entrenched interest, and lack of interest.


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