The World on Paper

"[Individuals who break through by inventing a new paradigm are] almost always...either very young or very new to the field whose paradigm they change...These are the [men and women] who, being little committed to prior practice to the traditional rules of normal science, are particularly likely to see that those rules no longer define a playable game and to conceive another set that can replace them." - Thomas S Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolution (1962)

Thursday, January 26, 2006

People : Built Environment : Comfort

People adapt to as well as modify their environments to achieve comfort. Historical evidence demonstrates ever changing human habitation patterns that are suggestive of tendencies towards adaptation of the surrounding context rather than "human self-adaptation".
"...there is man's habit of changing his environment rather than changing himself. Faced with the changing variable (e.g. temperature) within itself which it should control, the organism may make changes either within itself or in the external environment. It may adapt to the environment or adapt the environment to itself."
And thereupon,
"Man, the outstanding modifier of the environment, similarly achieves single-species ecosystems in his cities, but he goes one step further, establishing special environments for his symbionts." - Steps to an Ecology of Mind, Gregory Bateson (2000)
With the technologies of the modern world, dependence on mechanical systems in the built environment became the norm. Air conditioning technologies for example, have transformed what is regarded as 'normal' building in many different parts of the world. These services dictated the building's interior environment that as a result, the indoor climate created by the building's physical envelope has little or no relationship at all with the outside. The need for comfort brought about an indoor climate revolution wherein indoor climates are converging:

"hot environments are being cooled while cold indoor environments are being heated."- Threats and Defences in the Built Environment, Elizabeth Shove (1995)

To revel in the road travelled

Piled Higher and Deeper, 8 June 2005
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Emblems of understanding how buildings and their use interact

"We shape our buildings, and afterwards our buildings shape us." (Winston Churchill, 1924 and 1943) and "Form ever follows function." (Louis Sullivan, 1896)

First we shape our buildings, then they shape us, then we shape them again - ad infinitum. Function reforms form perpetually. - How Buildings Learn, Stewart Brand (1994)

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Heritage Matters: Emerging Architecture

"A house within a house"
From a pigsty to a showroom
Pfalz, Germany
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FNP Architekten (Stuttgart)
Prizewinner, 2005 AR Award for Emerging Architecture

A crumbling 18th century structure with a new lease on life.
AR Award

Monday, January 23, 2006

Tomorrow's doctrines

"History is often a series of expedients that grow into dogmas - today's pragmatism becoming tomorrow's doctrines..." - Stanley Karnow (1990)

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Aphorism: Pathway Unravelled

Michael Leunig, The Age
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On megalomaniacal dreams

"...architecture is a dangerous profession because it is a poisonous mixture of impotence and omnipotence, in the sense that the architect almost invariably harbors megalomaniacal dreams that depend upon others, and upon circumstances, to impose and to realize those fantasies and dreams." - Rem Koolhaas (1996)