How many of you here think housing should be more affordable? (almost all hands rise) OK, now how many of those own your own home?' (most of the same hands stay up) OK. How many of you want the value of your own home to go down? (lots of blank looks, and hands creeping down) You see the problem?
American communities require that new housing meet quality requirements that are very high by world or even Western European and Japanese standards. These requirements are designed by middle-class architects, planners, and citizens in conformity with what they believe is decent housing. But their concept of decency far surpasses what is necessary for human health and safety. Consequently, all new American dwellings are too costly for low-income people to occupy without direct subsidies. But subsidies are provided for only a few of the many households with incomes low enough to be eligible for them. So poor people live in unsubsidized older dwellings.
We're having a terrible affordable housing problem in this country. How can we deliver affordable housing when we keep gold-plating the standards?
Vernacular architecture was the sole delivery vehicle for affordable housing in most places from the dawn of time until about 1925. Inexplicably, we have almost completely ceased to use it in the decades since.
Well-planned cities can compensate for declining incomes by decreasing the cost of living.
If they could, 84% of older households would like to remain in their houses rather than move to retirement communities.
AgriVultures: Agribusiness corporations who attempt to patent heirloom varieties of fruits or vegetables.
After the Renaissance had turned decidedly against the informality of the Middle Ages, involuntary and dictated by conditions as it often was, the designers of the Post-Renaissance period made it a point to break the laws which had been considered immutable during the Renaissance. Michelangelo meant to burst the toils and chains of architectural rules, ancient and modern. That does not mean, however, that he and his followers wanted to be without rules; on the contrary in place of the old simple rules that were broken, new and more complicated ones were established and the new ones grew continuously more intricate...
And so, as we closely consider each element of this very building [a bathhouse in a country villa], we cannot but be offended that we see one door off towards the side and the other placed almost in the middle but not quite in the middle. Obviously, in man-made things, an asymmetry of parts which lacks any compelling necessity for being that way seems to inflict a certain injury, as it were, on sight itself. On the other hand, the fact that the three windows inside--one in the middle, two on the sides--pour light onto the bath at equal intervals--how much that delights us who gaze upon it carefully and how much it takes the mind into itself, is a manifest thing not needing to be opened up for you with many words. This is why architects themselves are already calling this phenomenon by their own words 'reason' and they say that parts arranged disproportionately do not have 'reason.'
From De Ordine' (On Order)
One of these days I'll get around to making the case that today's highbrow-architecture scene is well understood as something akin to the high-end women's-fashion world. Both fields specialize in the creation of brittle, hysterical whimsies that are sometimes amusing in snobbish and absurd ways. Little harm is done when such productions are fodder for the pages of Vogue, and when they're understood to serve fantasy purposes. But what kind of person would impose high-strung, soon-to-fall- out-of-fashion craziness on our public realm?
Who cares what Eisenman's or for a matter of fact what any architect's artistic or religious beliefs are? They would only be of interest if the work was of interest and more often then not architects like Eisenman try to substitute ideology for architecture.
Appropriate architecture and urban design should be to the extent that you make people feel at home.
Preservationists in Paris rank buildings as follows: Buildings of National Interest Buildings of Interest Buildings of No Interest Regrettable Buildings
There is no such thing as a bastard material or a bastard style. There are only bastard architects
The quality I most value in buildings is that of inevitability: when everything is in its place, when there is nothing redundant, when everything is exactly right, you can say it was 'inevitable'.
Architecture without sensibility to its context is like sex without love: entertaining perhaps, but not the source of lasting joy.
I look forward to an America which will not be afraid of grace and beauty, which will protect the beauty of our natural environment, which will preserve the great old American houses and squares and parks of our national past, and which will build handsome and balanced cities for our future.
It actually took more effort, and a deeper background in principle and technique, on the part of the 19th century architect to contrive proportioning schemes that would nourish the heart and soul of a normal human being. Today it is the common citizen, forced to live among the baleful monstrosities of 20th century architecture, who must expend extreme mental effort to keep from shrieking in agony at every turn.
Studying trees in order to be a better architect is like studying poetry to be a better surgeon.
Mansardation: the use of a short Mansard roof to decorate the edge of a flat roof and hide the mechanical equipment installed thereon.
Fake shutters aren't shutters. Shutters are things that shut. Panels that screw on the wall and do nothing aren't shutters; they're Screw-On Do-Nothings.
Facadomy: Similar to a lobotomy, a facadomy usually requires lopping off parts of the facade such as the cornice to make the cool new corrugated aluminum skin fit properly. Almost as heinous as the facadomy is the reverse facadomy, where the facade is preserved, but the rest of the building is demolished and a huge new building is constructed behind the now-paper-thin facade.
You have two choices, as I see it, either scrape the town and move north, or create a town that can take a swim every 30 years.
on Biloxi after Katrina
Such an architecture of choosing (eklegein in Greek) is in the best sense of the word eclectic.
To be concerned about the way people live; about the environment they inhabit and the kind of community that is created by that environment should surely be one of the prime requirements of a really good architect.
at the 150th anniversary dinner of the Royal Institute of British Architects, Hampton Court, May 30, 1984
It has been said to me that property developers are the 'Medici of the 20th century'. Where then is our Florence? And why is a great city like London seen by our 'Medici' as merely a financial staging post between New York and Tokyo?
to the American Institute of Architects, Washington, February 22, 1992
What, then, have we done to it since the bombing? In the space of a mere 15 years, ... the planners, architects and developers of the City wrecked the London skyline and desecrated the dome of St Paul's.
at the Corporation of London Planning and Communication Committee's annual dinner at the Mansion House on December 1, 1988
It would be a tragedy if the character and skyline of our capital city were to be further ruined and St Paul's dwarfed by yet another giant glass stump, better suited to downtown Chicago than the City of London.
commenting on a plan for the National Gallery extension, later replaced
Surely here, if anywhere, was the time and place to sacrifice some profit, if need be, for generosity of vision, for elegance, for dignity; for buildings which would raise our spirits and our faith in commercial enterprise and prove that capitalism can have a human face, instead of that of a robot or word processor. On such a site (Paternoster Square, next to St Paul's Cathedral), market forces, I would suggest, are not enough.
at the Corporation of London Planning and Communication Committee's annual dinner at the Mansion House on December 1, 1990
The time has surely now arrived when we must learn to work with rather than against Nature; when we can once again make places in which we can not only have our being, but enrich our perception of what our being really is.
to the American Institute of Architects, Washington, February 22, 1991
... what is proposed is like a monstrous carbuncle on the face of a much loved and elegant friend.
commenting on a plan for the National Gallery extension, later replaced
I would like to see architects working with artists and craftsmen, showing that pleasure and delight are indeed returning to architecture after their long exile.
at the Corporation of London Planning and Communication Committee's annual dinner at the Mansion House on December 1, 1991
Everywhere I go, it is one of the things people complain about most and, if there is one message I would like to deliver this evening, in no uncertain terms, it is that large numbers of us in this country are fed up with being talked down to and dictated to by the existing planning, architectural and development establishment.
at the Corporation of London Planning and Communication Committee's annual dinner at the Mansion House on December 1, 1989
What, after all, is architecture for? Or rather, who is it for? The answer now - as we approach the 21st century - it seems to me to be the same as it has always been. It is for human beings.
to the American Institute of Architects, Washington, February 22, 1990.
Somewhere along the line the education of architects has abandoned this sensitivity to the basic feelings of the ordinary citizen. But that is another story - and contained in a speech yet to come...!
to the American Institute of Architects, Washington, February 22, 1993
You have to give this much to the Luftwaffe. When it knocked down our buildings, it didn't replace them with anything more offensive than rubble.
at the Corporation of London Planning and Communication Committee's annual dinner at the Mansion House on December 1, 1987
What we must know in organic architecture is not found in books. It is necessary to have recourse to Nature with a capital N in order to get an education. Necessary to learn from trees, flowers, shells -- objects which contain truths of form following function.* If we stopped there, then it would be mererly imitation. But if we dig deep enough... we arrive at secrets of form related to purpose that will make of the tree a building, and the building a tree.
To become unfashionable is fatal for that which is only a fashion. But for a substantial proposition it is not a depressing prospect to pass out of fashion.
In a 20 mph collision, 4% of pedestrians die, 30 mph is 55%, and 40 mph is over 80%.
Guide for the Planning, Design, and Operation of Pedestrian Facilities
In a quality city, a person should be able to live their entire life without a car, and not feel deprived.
A good sustainability and quality of life indicator: The average amount of time spent in a car.
Americans are broad-minded people. They'll accept the fact that a person can be an alcoholic, a dope fiend, a wife beater, and even a newspaperman, but if a man doesn't drive there's something wrong with him.
Cars are happiest when there are no other cars around. People are happiest when there are other people around.
The world is being forced, not in 10 years but today, to choose between feeding people and feeding cars.
Planning of the automobile city focuses on saving time. Planning for the accessible city, on the other hand, focuses on time well spent.