Steve Mouzon 53 quotes

Quote Context Category
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. Affordable Housing
AgriVultures: Agribusiness corporations who attempt to patent heirloom varieties of fruits or vegetables. Agriculture
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. Architecture
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. Architecture
Mansardation: the use of a short Mansard roof to decorate the edge of a flat roof and hide the mechanical equipment installed thereon. Architecture
Style-based coding is founded on the proposition that 'thou shalt do this because I have better taste than you,' whereas principle-based coding is founded on the proposition that 'we do this because...'. Codes
Fundamental Land Preservation: The act of building more compactly than the latest surrounding sprawl, which is the pattern that would otherwise be used to house the people you are housing. Land preserved by Fundamental Land Preservation requires no political will to keep it in place through time. Once enacted, its only enemy is unlovable architecture, because it remains in force for so long as the units remain inhabited. Development
Can you make a living where you're living? Jobs
That which is most intensely 'of our time' today is by definition the most quickly 'outadate' tomorrow. Modernism
In order to be significant today, you've got to out-weird Frank Gehry. In order to be significant in five years, you'll have to out-weird the person that out-weirded Frank Gehry. The entire movement is hurtling toward the Wall of Terminal Weirdness, where it will crash because things can't get any stranger. Modernism
New Urbanism cannot happen without bricks and mortar. Until we move people to the point that they build differently from what they otherwise would have, NU is only a theory, and it does nobody any good except those that enjoy concocting the theories. NU is about building differently. New Urbanism
Tourist Test: Is a place good enough that people come from far away to visit it for the delight of being there, rather than to visit friends or to be entertained? If so, then may be one of the Most-Loved Places. New Urbanism
Decorated Subdivision: Synonym for Hybrid New Urbanism. Basically, you take a conventional subdivision and decorate it with a few alleys, sidewalks, and maybe a gazebo on a sliver of common land somewhere. New Urbanism
New Urbanists often aren't interested in something until someone says it can't be done. Then, they say 'maybe that should be our next project'. New Urbanism
Nearly everything the New Urbanism has accomplished over the last three decades was beforehand illegal, inconceivable, or considered impossible. New Urbanism
Marketing Message: ‘Eatin' good in the neighborhood...’ Physical Reality: ‘Servin' it hot in the parking lot...’ Sprawl
Style is a blunt instrument, because you must either swallow the whole thing or reject it. Individual patterns, on the other hand, are surgically precise, and may be discussed intelligently because of their relative simplicity. Style
Post-Stylistic Architecture: The architecture that emerges after the end of the Hundred-Year Style Wars that is based on the regional conditions, climate, and culture of a place, and that is express simply as this is how we build here. Its genetic code is passed down to the next generation pattern-by-pattern prefaced by a simple rule of thumb, and followed by 'We do this because...'. Style
That which can reproduce and live sustainably is green; that which is incapable of doing so is not green. This is the standard of life. Life is that process which creates all things green. Sustainability
If a building cannot be loved, its carbon footprint is meaningless because it will demolished and carted off to the landfill in a generation or two. Sustainability
The carbon footprint of a building doesn't mean much if it is built in an unsustainable place where you have to drive everywhere. Sustainability
Originally (before the Thermostat Age) people had no choice but to build green, otherwise people would freeze to death in winter, die of heat strokes by summer, or other really bad things would happen to them. Sustainability
We need to move as quickly as possible from the previous condition of global warming being an issue embraced by one political party and opposed by the other to the future condition where all hands are vigorously on deck to try to do something about it. We all need to move as quickly as possible to de-politicize global warming so that years are not wasted in blame, but rather spent productively getting things done. Sustainability
The seriously poor live the most ecological lifestyles because they can't afford to do otherwise. The trick is to take elements of the peasant lifestyle, elevate them and make them alluring to the rich so that, if adopted, they will move down to the middle class. Sustainability
There's a fundamental flaw the 'anti-consumption agenda'... the measure should not be primarily the things that you consume, because every living creature consumes things... life itself is one long repeated act of consumption... life cannot occur without consumption. When a creature ceases to consume, they cease to live, so the only creatures that do not consume anything are the dead ones. Rather, the standard should be: 'do your wastes become another creature's raw materials, or do they go to the landfill instead?' This is a fundamental reason why the sustainability of the place is as important as the sustainability of the building or the practices of the individuals who inhabit those buildings. Sustainability
Urbanists no longer need to talk just about Compactness, Walkability, and Diversity, but rather Compactness, Walkability, Diversity, AND Sustainability. Architects no longer need to talk just about Commodity, Firmness, and Delight, but rather Commodity, Firmness, Delight, AND Wellness. Sustainability
Suffering isn't sustainable. Sustainability
Sustainability is far less about which green gizmos we buy and far more about how we live differently. Better efficiency alone can’t get the job done. Sustainability
Sustainability is more about what we do than what we buy. We must make changes, not just the gizmo manufacturers. Sustainability
If we want sustainability without catastrophe, then we must very soon rebuild green ideas around that which is lovable. Sustainability
People often do what they want to, but don’t often do what they ought to. Far too much sustainability advice begins with “you ought to...” We must rebuild the idea of sustainability around that which can be desired. Sustainability
If all we can do is to build historical replicas, we become relics ourselves. Tradition
Private architectural languages die with their creators. Tradition
A living tradition is about as similar to an historic tradition as a living creature is to a fossil. The shapes may be similar, but one is living and the other is not. The living thing can change, while the historic one is fixed in history for all time. Tradition
A tradition begins as a great idea by a single person having to do with a better way of building something. They build the idea, and other people see it. If it resonates enough with other people that they say I must have this on my house, my shop, or my town (depending on the scale of the pattern) then they, too, build it and it becomes a local pattern. Later, if the people of the region see it and say we love this; we want to adopt it into our family of regional traditions, then it becomes a regional pattern. Traditions, therefore, are those things that are most worthy of love. Tradition
New Urbanists reserve the right to learn from our predecessors. But we also reserve the right to invent new things, too. Tradition
The gateway to greatness is a great variety in a narrow range. This is the unifying characteristic of all great places. The great variety creates life, whereas the narrow range creates an identifiable character. Achieving both in the same place has proven extraordinarily difficult in new places; most have achieved one or the other, but not both. Tradition
Tradition is impossible without copying something. Tradition
The greatness of an idea is measured by how many times it is copied and how far it spreads. Those who don't want their work to be copied are unknowingly desiring mediocrity... or worse. Tradition
Tradition is that which involves roughly 98% of the market. If we're more worried about the 2% than the 98%, then we get what we deserve, which is the adulation of the architects and the alienation of almost everyone else. Tradition
Tradition has a secret power: the ability to embed wisdom in beauty. A great deal of wisdom can then be passed down by the untrained, simply because they love what they are replicating. Tradition
A living tradition isn't a style. Rather, it's simply the best response to regional conditions, climate, and culture. Those who participate in a living tradition simply say 'this is how we build here'. Tradition
Until a pattern is copied by someone other than its originator, it cannot be strictly said to be alive. But once it is copied, it becomes a living thing and can persist for decades, centuries, or occasionally even millennia after its originator dies and is forgotten. Tradition
Are you planting or selling? If you sell an idea, then you must sell it again and again, and each time the idea is built, it immediately begins to decay. But if you plant an idea instead that can take on a life of its own and replicate without you, then that idea can be doing good long after you are gone and forgotten. Tradition
Copyrighting your own design assures that the genetic material of your design will never become part of a tradition. Copyrighting all design assures that no long-term advancement in design is likely. Tradition
We are stuck in 1910 until we learn to re-start living traditions. Tradition
Historical style was a necessary schoolteacher to help bring us out of the Dark Ages of Architecture and into the New Renaissance, but it has now become an impediment. Why? Because if you're really wanting to engage the people (and the builders,) then they WILL learn a best architecture of their place, but they WILL NOT learn a half-dozen (or more) historical styles. Only architectural historians will do that. So if you really want to re-start a living tradition in a place, it cannot be based on a collection of historical styles, but rather on the simple notion of 'this is how we build here'. Tradition
Transectendental: Transcending the simplistic fried-egg understanding of the Transect with all sorts of quirky, fine-grained breaks, often in mid-block, such as the classic T5 End Cap On T4 Block. Transect
Transect Zone Bigotry: This phenomenon probably occurred first in our time as an intolerance of anything that was not suburban. Not surprisingly, there is a backlash within the New Urbanism against anything that IS suburban, illustrating two sides of Transect Zone Bigotry: Focused Transect Zone Bigotry is intolerance of one particular zone, whereas Widespread Transect Zone Bigotry is intolerance of any zone other than the one in which one lives. There is a third form, which is Shifted Transect Zone Bigotry. It's a quirky thing characterized by admiration of one zone, while living in an adjacent zone. The most common example is the millions of Americans who live in T-3 but lionize T-2. It's not Suburban Music, of course, it's Country Music. Regardless of which form it takes, Transect Zone Bigotry is caustic... and stupid... because it takes tools out of the toolbox. Transect
The vernacular process is based on things that resonate enough with the average citizen that they want to repeat it on their house, their shop, or their town. Repeated enough over time, it becomes a pattern, and then a tradition. The Most-Loved Places are therefore all by definition traditional places. Vernacular