“It is not the strongest of species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.” – Charles Darwin
While I most certainly agree with this quote from a biological standpoint, I believe it to be likewise true for buildings. My greatest inspiration in architecture lies not with the BIGs, MVRDVs, OMAs, or SANAAs of the world but rather with those architects who are able to work within historic contexts. I think it takes a certain lack of design ego to design a building with the expectation that it will be later modified. I also think it requires a significant amount of foresight. Throughout their careers, Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown have praised the generic in architecture and the importance of planning for urban change. I find their marriage—literally!—of architecture and urbanism to be vital both to the profession and to the city. Cities change, and buildings should have the capacity to change with them.
Rather than continue to write about architects and theories—Do I even have any readers left?—I will simply post photographs of some of my favorite projects. When I become discouraged with drawing details or creating schedules in AutoCAD, these buildings inspire me to be a more thoughtful and patient designer.
Arata Isozaki, Francisco Javier Asarta, Roberto Luna and Robert Brufau / Caixa Forum / Barcelona, Spain / 1992. // Formerly: Josep Puig i Cadafalch / Casaramona factory / 1911.
Venturi, Scott Brown & Associates / Rauner Special Collections Library in Webster Hall / Dartmouth College / Hanover, New Hampshire, USA / 2000 // Formerly: Charles A. Rich / Webster Hall auditorium / 1907.
Merkx + Girod / Boekhandel (Bookstore) Selexyz Dominicanen / Maastricht, The Netherlands / 2007. // Formerly: a Dominican church / 1294.
Archi-Tectonics / Spike Building / New York City, New York, USA / in progress. // Currently: an apartment building / 19th century.