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Toward Great

Architecture:
Top 10 Snippets

Submitted by: Danica April L. Esperame from the book “Architects


Design Portable Handbook” by author Arch. Andy Pressman
10. Demarginalize Practice

• Creative and activist application of design talent and


knowledge can help architects influence policy and
contribute to the public good.

• Addressing basic social and environmental problems will


make the field more relevant to broad segments of society.
9. Celebrate Context and Stakeholders

• As cited by David Lewis, the late Jules Gregory implored architects to


“hear the nuances, so that every new building would be graft spliced
into the heart of a living city… and be accountable not only in
technical terms, but economically, culturally, and socially (TECS) .”

• We need to widen our focus from buildings to places in order to be


optimally sensitive and responsive to clients, users, and the cultural
landscape.
8. Seek Economy of Means

• Derive the most from our precious resources. This is


especially salient for environmental sustainability issues.

• This notion also has application to meaningful and beautiful


form making in which components are configured and
assembled to create a rational and artful whole.
7. Employ Digital Technology to Enhance
Design

• Take full advantage of the computer alone and in concert


with other media to fully investigate design possibilities.

• This constantly evolving and powerful tool creates new


potentials for innovation and synthesis of fresh ideas and
their implementation.
6. Cultivate Passion for Construction and
Engineering

• The architectural design process is meaningless


and myopic if it is not truly and completely
informed by construction and engineering
processes.
• John Brittingham makes the analogy that details
can be seen as words composing a sentence.
• As the selection of words and styles gives meaning
to a sentence, the selection of details and their
manifestation gives character to the architecture
5. Communicate Effectively with Clients,
Colleagues, and the Public

• The information delivery process may need to be as


creative as the design itself. Communication skill is very
much a part of the design process.
• Excellent work ends up on the cutting room floor if clients
or the public do not perceive it as excellent.
• More over, significant discussions with the client and
collaborators are invaluable in eliciting information that
helps define the problem and provide cues to solve it.
• Architects have a pedagogical responsibility to broaden
clients’ perspectives about the built environment.
4. Inform Time Management with Overarching
Priorities

• It is crucial to think about the relevance of what


one does, and its implications for prioritizing time.
• Alfred Adler said, “The impetus from minus to plus
is never-ending. The urge from below to above
never ceases. Whatever premises all of our
philosophers and psychologists dream of-self-
preservation, pleasure principle, equalization all of
these are but vague representations, attempts to
express the great upward drive.”
• Alfred Adler is a Austrian Psychiatrist

• The point there, is that the over arching goal to do


something of real significance and meaning should
be wedded to the way we use our time, to achieve
the noble ends.
3. Pursue Lifelong Learning

• It would seem self-evident that seeking continuing


education is simply something all practitioners would want
to do, because it’s inherently interesting material related
to one of their central passions in life.
• Consider design competitions as one of the most
enlightening continuing education strategies because they
offer the freedom and luxury to experiment with and hone
design thinking.
• The experience can then be applied to “everyday” projects
to elevate the quality of their designs.
2. Promote an Ethical Stance

• The basic mission of a professional is to provide a service


that is value laden. Unlike the artist, who creates beauty
and emotion, and unlike the scientist, who discovers and
explains the architect also has to do good.
• It is not easy to do good in a complex world.
• Gregory Palermo suggests that “the making of architecture
is an ethical event; the architecture made is constructed
ethics!”
1. Raise the Bar

• Because it is so easy to whine about the mediocrity surrounding


us, we need to be especially conscientious about allocating
energy toward creative and activist methods of raising the level
of meaning and content in architectural design.
• Thom Mayne suggests that excellent architecture is a
consequence of one’s life and career experience; that project
research and investigation become integral with one’s
development over time.
• Mayne says, “bringing to bear something outside
the pragmatic engenders architecture… An
architecture of quality does not exist absent an
intense interest and commitment to formal
qualities, pragmatic issues, environmental
questions, tectonics and so on, which are quite
separate from issues of program and budget.”
-End-
Thank You!