Art and Architecture

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From: [email protected] (Naoki J Tsuchiya)
Newsgroups: alt.architecture
Subject: Art and Architecture
Date: 7 May 1993 06:05:19 GMT
Organization: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
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Distribution: world
Message-ID: <[email protected]>
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Architecture is often times thought of as purely (or merely) as a fine
art, especially in history books and by critics, most of whom are not in the
profession. However, a much more important aspect of architecture is not how it
appeals as an art form, but how a building actually works. This would include
points such as its initial economic cost, its long term economic upkeep, and its
effect on both the people who use it and the people who live nearby.

If this aspect is focused upon, one realizes that architecture is not
just a fine art, such as music, sculpture, literature, and movies, but in fact
a potent force that has a tremendous impact on society. The degree of this
impact can be appreciated when you think that a building you design has the
effect of making the lives of the hundreds (perhaps thousands?) of people who
use it better or worse. It also has a great impact upon the fabric of a
neighborhood, as public housing projects around the U.S. have shown. Another
impact is in energy and natural resources, both in terms of construction and
in use.

When an architect designs, the result is not just something that a
critic or the public can dismiss or praise but an experiment with human lives.
A positive example is the work of Frank Lloyd Wright. The many users of his
buildings, both office buildings and homes, have found that their lives have
become better. One example is how the workers at the Johnson Building in
Wisconsin ended up in better spirits and perferring to stay in the building,
rather than rushing off for lunch and after work. Another example is how some
residents have said that they had to change some of their living habits. These
included having to fit to how little storage space Wright put in his homes and
having to rid of their many duplicate dinnerware, but that they were better off
without all these extra things. Many also comment on how environmentally
sound their homes are, such as how his homes stay cool throughout even in hot
summer days without air conditioning, and how kitchen fumes easily vent out
through well-placed clerestory windows without mechanical equipment.


Looking at these points of architecture, one can truly see a definitive
difference between architects, and not just the subjective "artistic"
differences
that the lay historians and critics waste words over.



(note: the source of the information about Wright buildings here comes
primarily
from a book called _Writings on Wright_, Brooks, editor.)



N. John Tsuchiya
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