Thursday, July 28

Architecture that makes a difference

Architecture can have a much more profound effect on our disposition that we generally realise. Seeing something beautiful and well designed not only raises out sprits but contributes to our well being in a practical  sense to achieve much better social outcomes . For instance prisons which are smaller and more open have vastly superior outcomes for rehabilitation than the impersonal mega structures  prone to violence and alienation we continue to build..A city that has laneways converted to restaurants for pedestrians and designated common areas to congregate  will exude a certain welcoming air of goodwill.    

The ancient Greek philosophers understood this very well and in particular Aristotle.  Scholar  Andrew Murray presented  this interesting paper at a conference I attended.  Click here should it be of interest.

What it highlights is the need for all vocations to include at least one elective in philosophy whose rich history in thinking throughout the ages adds to ones collective ideas of the many novel ways of meeting social demands.         


susan said...

You know I agree with you completely about this subject, Lindsay. In fact, here's the conversation we had about the subject a couple of years ago:

Lindsay ByrnesMay 25, 2014 at 12:42 AM

Hi Susan,
If we want friendly cities with sufficient common space we can only hope this ideal takes hold in a global federation of human societies, working collaboratively to ensure pleasing architecture reflects this objective, but this is probably a rather remote hope given present practices.

I think the lack of common areas in cities and towns has a more profound effect upon us than is generally realised. Part of such an objective is in the preservation and reservation of old buildings and surrounding paved area such as we are privileged to see in much of Europe and the UK .

However, here in Melbourne, thankfully much of this is taken for granted – such as a laneway culture of outdoor dining, with pedestrian and cyclist facilitates which are the past influences from Jahn Gehl.
Great drawing, it looks like a Melbourne’s city rooftop from one of the older buildings
Best wishes


susanMay 25, 2014 at 12:31 PM

Hello again, Lindsay
From the perspective of living in a culture where international architects still drop their bizarre skyscrapers seemingly at random you're most assuredly correct in saying present practices aren't hopeful. Really, what can the average person do if their house and garden are expropriated by the city government in order to provide ground space for a multi-million dollar high-rise? Not much. I guess if that person were lucky they might be able to afford an apartment somewhere in that new building.

Meanwhile, we can only hope that the efforts of people like Jahn Gehl and all the people who support his ideal gain favor with urban planners.

I've read about the Melbourne miracle more than once, his first major success in changing how a city can become much more friendly to its populace. You're lucky it's your city.

'A good city is like a good party', he says. 'You know it’s working when people stay for much longer than really necessary, because they are enjoying themselves.'
Best wishes

ps: Glad you like the drawing :)

This was the post. May reason and sanity prevail.

Best wishes

Lindsay Byrnes said...

Thanks very much Susan For the reference back to your post "on the Terrace with Crow" + comments which was good to read again.
I did have some vague recollection of posting a comment generally on the topic before but couldn't quite put my finger on it.
Lets hope indeed some sanity and reason does prevail in the future. Best wishes.