Saturday, December 10, 2011

Design Is About Integration

The best architecture comes from a synthesis of all the elements
That separately comprise a building,
From its relationship to the streetscape
Or skyline to the structure that holds it up;
The services that allow it to work;
The ecology of the building;
The material used;
The character in the spaces;
The aesthetic dimension and the beauty of light and shade;
The symbolism of the form;
And the way in which it signals its presence in the city or the countryside.
I think that holds true whether you are creating a landmark or deferring to a historical setting.

by Norman Foster

What Concrete Is

It appears to be a very common material that is available everywhere, and because it is generally used in only one way we think of it as being very one-dimensional. However, concrete possesses many variables. Every concrete mix and pour has a different character. It is not like steel or glass, which has a more consistent nature. Concrete can vary greatly. Concrete has a depth of expression that changes with every use. Le Corbusier used concrete as if it were clay. He used its plastic quality almost as if he were sculpting. Louis Kahn used concrete as if it were hard steel. The same material—two very different effects.
There is also the rebar—the reinforcing bar—and this is very important. The rebar is like the bones of a human body. The concrete is like the flesh. I think of a poured-concrete building as a metaphor of the human body. If you have a thick bone and not enough muscle and skin, the bone will start to stick out. Or if you have too much skin with no sense of bone, the building will look fat and bloated. It is very important to maintain the precise space, the right amount of space between the rebar... Poured-in-place concrete is a kind of handmade building.

As you know, there are wide variations in color from white to gray to black. Concrete can be very rich in color. I see color there in terms of depth rather than surface. The gradations of color create a sense of depth. If you only look at color in terms of projecting out from the surface, then you fail to see the depth.

I am among a number of architects who use concrete because of the freedom it allows me. I like concrete because you can invent forms, which allows me to create new kinds of spaces... Concrete gives the illusion that it is easy to work with because you can pour a long wall relatively quickly rather than having to build it brick by brick.

by Tadao Ando

Sustainable Architecture

Architecture is the art form to which we are continually exposed. It enhances or hinders our lives because it creates the environment in which all our everyday experiences take place, be they commonplace or seminal. There should be no surprise that architecture becomes controversial, nor that it is the art form which the public criticizes the most widely and the most passionately. The special status that architecture holds in our lives demands special vigilance from the citizen, and this requires society to be both informed and prescriptive about quality.

The requirement for architecture to contribute to social and environmental sustainability now charges architects with responsibilities that go beyond the limits of an autonomous brief.

Building should inspire, and compose cities that celebrate society and respect nature. Our present need for sustainable building now offers opportunities to re-establish ambition and to evolve new aesthetic orders—it could provide the impetus for the revival of the profession of architecture.

by Richard Rogers


Architecture is like science: if you don’t do lab research, you are not going to discover the cures.
In terms of research, it is very important point to always expand the boundaries you learn from you own repertoire, in a sense.

We used to try and invent new rules.
Now we have developed a set of things which we can go back to, a lot of available research we can bounce off.
You have more experience, and you know how to design things better.
And you do not have to reinvent the wheel again every day.

by Zaha Hadid

Emphasized Materiality

We are not that interested in telling stories.
That is why we do not produce a very narrative or didactic architecture.
Rather, we make architecture that, in the most elementary way possible,
Expresses the being of the materials used,
The being of the site,
The being of the physical reality of the world.
We are interested in such elementary questions as:
What is wall?
What is a surface?
What is transparency?
These questions have an immediate effect on the sensual, perceptual abilities of the observer and the user.

We insist on the world’s materiality,
On the multiplicity of the sense as a central condition of humanity.
In our opinion, the spiritual quality of architecture and art lies exactly in this emphasized materiality...

We like weight just as much as we like constructions.
We don’t have a preference.
There is a specific weight to everything that we are interested in,
Not an absolute weight.

by Herzog and de Meuron


Surrealism is a definite part of my architecture. For example, Luis Bunuel films, Bunuel shows the reality of the subject, but with a particular eye or from a particular point of view. I think to parallel my work to that of Bunuel’s would be most interesting. It is not a revival, but the many points of view in the study of realism.

by Aldo Rossi