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Qingyun Ma's 4 Principles of Contemporary Architecture
by Katy Purviance on 08/13/08 @ 12:19:59 pm
Categories: Architects | 202 words | 2453 views

I told you in the last post about the article my uncle sent to me by LA Times columnist Gregory Rodriguez.

The article was about Qingyun Ma, the dean of architecture at USC.

I wanted to share with you what he thinks are the most important principles of contemporary architecture:

1. Architecture is more about ideas than materials.

2. Ideas should not be inscribed in stone forever.

3. The idea has to be beautiful.

4. Architecture has to be for others.

I want to talk about #4 a little bit.

Designing architecture for others means to consider the people whose lives with be lived within and without our buildings, the people who will use these buildings today, and the generations who will continue to be stuck with our buildings in the future.

Please note that

1: the developer’s cookie cutter suburban sprawl house, forcing its inhabitants into automobile dependency, by separated them from work, school, and play, and

2: the starchitect’s enormous ego monument that is callous to neighboring buildings and their inhabitants

are not architecture for others. So don’t do it. Embrace the holistic approach when you design. Think of the people who will be using your buildings – and their physical, mental, and emotional health – first.

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places where you could probably learn more about designing and building in just a few days than I did after a year of grad school

Know of some others I can add here? Let me know. Have you already visited some of these places...or planning on it? Let me know and I will feature your story and your photos here!

I am starting a new kind of architecture school. Unlike most architecture schools, you wouldn't have to submit GRE scores or good grades or letters of recommendation. You wouldn't have to put the rest of your life on hold for 3 to 5 years. You wouldn't have to accrue tens of thousands of dollars in debt. At my architecture school, anyone could come for a few weeks and learn how to build a house with their own two hands. My teachers would take skills and concepts from some of these other workshops I've listed above... except classes would be held year-round to make it easy to fit into your schedule. I would have a number of different campuses around the country that would teach building designs appropriate to the local climate. And I need your help. Can you donate land for a campus? Can you dotate books for a library? Can you teach a workshop? Can you provide start-up capital? Let me know.

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