Chapter 1 of 24
In my early training, and especially in studies at Harvard under Gropius, I was imbued with the idea that architecture should follow a clear methodology of approach in arriving at a design; that it was not orientated toward ever aiming to become fashionable. The social needs of a building change from one decade to another, people want different things. Technology takes enormous strides and therefore what may be plausible and perfectly reasonable at one time, decades later becomes old-fashioned. The third that also changes with time is people's perception of what they consider beautiful or viable visually. The early Moderns had a very pristine almost minimalist approach, very morally orientated towards social needs, and so on. And the tendency today is to embellish, to create greater visual enjoyment, but that only as long as it, at the same time, answers the sort of three-way simultaneous design process as it was called. Does it respond to the present day social needs, does it respond to pushing the means of technology to its absolute cutting edge of development, and is it the imagery that is really that which, as it were, entices people most of the time. Now if it answers all these things, without emphasis on any one at the expense of another, but simultaneously and in a parallel sort of way, then maybe one can say that one is doing a building that is predictably destined to have a long, valid life. And that's the big difference between something that is built based on fashion, which falls by the wayside and that's what I quarrel so much about the kind of superficial tendencies that have come into being in architecture. Suddenly people thought it was clever to bring about a kind of looking back. It ends up in sort of cliché images, appliqué arches and pediments and all this nonsense of the past which has nothing to do with the concerns, either technologically, constructionally or aesthetically that should be our concern today.