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Deconstructionism in Architectural Form Making
by Katy Purviance on 08/13/08 @ 12:33:00 pm
Categories: Observations, Architects | 254 words | 2271 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.

He said something that’s been on my mind quite a bit the past few years:

As for US architecture schools, Ma…finds them “form-based rather than performance-based,” meaning that they’re too focused on aethetics and not enough on how their designs actually “perform in society.”

I always thought it was strange how, in my studio classes, there was so much emphasis on “form building.” Stranger still was the deconstructionist methods used to manufacture form.

I like deconstructionism in literature, but in architecture in strikes me as ugly… and sometimes wasteful…and usually pointless.

I am more concerned about how a building actually works for the benefit of its inhabitants. I want to know what it looks like on the inside when it is ablaze in natural sunlight. I want to know how the inhabitants can feel the breeze but not the draft. I want to know how easy it is to run from the TV to the telephone to the bathroom and back again.

I still don’t get why it’s supposed to be a good idea to make the building form come from some algorithm I made up based on, I don’t know, traffic patterns or migratory frequency rates. It’s interesting but…what does it have to do with making a place in which it feels good to live and work?

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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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