How Buildings Learn: Chapter 5 - Magazine Architecture: No Road

How Buildings Learn by Stewart Brand is a really great read about the underlying processes that govern the evolution of buildings over time.

Architects offered themselves as providers of instant solutions, and only the look of a building gives instant gratification.

In the 1980's, 80 percent of the ever-growing post-construction claims against architects were for leaks. Domes leaked, always. Worst of all, domes couldn't grow or adapt. What's good about 90-degree walls: they don't catch dust, rain doesn't sit on them, easy to add to; gravity, not tension holds them in place. We are 90 degrees to the earth.

The specious old-box is old because it is profoundly adaptive.

Instead of steady accumulation, the business of contemporary architecture is dominated by two instants in time. One is the moment of go-ahead...The other is the moment of hand-over.

All the design intelligence gets forced to the earliest part of the building process, when everyone knows the least about what is really needed. A lot of the time now you see buildings that look exactly like their models. That's when you know you're in trouble.

There is real misunderstanding about whether buildings are something dynamic or something static.

Architects think of a building as a complete thing, while builders think of it and know it as a sequence.

The race for finality undermines the whole process. In reality finishing is never finished.

Unchallenged practices persist for decades.

Admiration is from a distance and brief, while love is up close and cumulative.

The needed conversion is from architecture based on image to architecture based on process.

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