1. A truly great book should be read in youth, again in maturity and once more in old age, as a fine building should be seen by morning light, at noon and by moonlight.
2. Artists use frauds to make human beings seem more wonderful than they really are. Dancers show us human beings who move much more gracefully than human beings really move. Films and books and plays show us people talking much more entertainingly than people really talk, make paltry human enterprises seem important. Singers and musicians show us human beings making sounds far more lovely than human beings really make. Architects give us temples in which something marvelous is obviously going on. Actually, practically nothing is going on.
3. A doctor can bury his mistakes, but an architect can only advise his clients to plant vines.
4. It is in dialogue with pain that many beautiful things acquire their value. Acquaintance with grief turns out to be one of the more unusual prerequisites of architectural appreciation. We might, quite aside from all other requirements, need to be a little sad before buildings can properly touch us.
5. Walkers are ‘practitioners of the city,’ for the city is made to be walked. A city is a language, a repository of possibilities, and walking is the act of speaking that language, of selecting from those possibilities. Just as language limits what can be said, architecture limits where one can walk, but the walker invents other ways to go.
6. We need houses as we need clothes, architecture stimulates fashion. It’s like hunger and thirst — you need them both.
7. I don’t know what London’s coming to — the higher the buildings the lower the morals.
8. As we live and as we are, Simplicity – with a capital “S” – is difficult to comprehend nowadays. We are no longer truly simple. We no longer live in simple terms or places. Life is a more complex struggle now. It is now valiant to be simple: a courageous thing to even want to be simple. It is a spiritual thing to comprehend what simplicity means.
9. We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.
10. Cheops’ Law: Nothing ever gets built on schedule or within budget.
11. Bad architecture is in the end as much a failure of psychology as of design. It is an example expressed through materials of the same tendencies which in other domains will lead us to marry the wrong people, choose inappropriate jobs and book unsuccessful holidays: the tendency not to understand who we are and what will satisfy us.
12. Gracie: You have an unusual house. Have you lived here long?
Bobby Tom: A couple of years. I don’t much like it myself, but the architect is real proud of it. She calls it urban Stone Age with a Japanese Tahitian influence. I sort of just call it ugly
13. A real building is one on which the eye can light and stay lit.
14. The door handle is the handshake of the building.
15. I think one of the primary goals of a feminist landscape architecture would be to work toward a public landscape in which we can roam the streets at midnight, in which every square is available for Virginia Woolf to make up her novels
16. Every city is a ghost. New buildings rise upon the bones of the old so that each shiny steel bean, each tower of brick carries within it the memories of what has gone before, an architectural haunting. Sometimes you can catch a glimpse of these former incarnations in the awkward angle of a street or filigreed gate, an old oak door peeking out from a new facade, the plaque commemorating the spot that was once a battleground, which became a saloon and is now a park.
17. Italian cities have long been held up as ideals, not least by New Yorkers and Londoners enthralled by the ways their architecture gives beauty and meaning to everyday acts.
18. A house can have integrity, just like a person,’ said Roark, ‘and just as seldom.
19. The Talmud states, “Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly now, love mercy now, walk humbly now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.
20. The sculpture is already complete within the marble block, before I start my work. It is already there, I just have to chisel away the superfluous material.
21. When they first built the University of California at Irvine they just put the buildings in. They did not put any sidewalks, they just planted grass. The next year, they came back and put the sidewalks where the trails were in the grass. Perl is just that kind of language. It is not designed from first principles. Perl is those sidewalks in the grass.
22. The architect had not stopped to bother about columns and porticos, proportions or interiors, or any limitation upon the epic he sought to materialize; he had simply made a servant of Nature – art can go no further.
23. Forests were the first temples of God and in forests men grasped their first idea of architecture.
24. Eiffel saw his Tower in the form of a serious object, rational, useful; men return it to him in the form of a great baroque dream which quite naturally touches on the borders of the irrational … architecture is always dream and function, expression of a utopia and instrument of a convenience.
25. To practice space is thus to repeat the joyful and silent experience of childhood; it is, in a place, to be other and to move toward the other…Kandinsky dreamed of: ‘a great city built according to all the rules of architecture and then suddenly shaken by a force that defies all calculation.
26. The new architecture and urban design of segregation could be called Calvinist: they reflect a desire to live in a world of predestination rather than chance, to strip the world of its wide-open possibilities and replace them with freedom of choice in the marketplace.
27. I confront the city with my body; my legs measure the length of the arcade and the width of the square; my gaze unconsciously projects my body onto the facade of the cathedral, where it roams over the mouldings and contours, sensing the size of recesses and projections; my body weight meets the mass of the cathedral door, and my hand grasps the door pull as I enter the dark void behind. I experience myself in the city, and the city exists through my embodied experience. The city and my body supplement and define each other. I dwell in the city and the city dwells in me.
28. It is hard not to see into the future, faced with today’s blind architecture – a thousand times more stupid and more revolting than that of other ages. How bored we shall be inside!
29. Marble, I perceive, covers a multitude of sins.
30. The greatest products of architecture are less the works of individuals than of society; rather the offspring of a nation’s effort, than the inspired flash of a man of genius.
31. A great building must begin with the immeasurable, must go through measurable means when it is being designed, and in the end must be unmeasured.
32. Literature is painting, architecture, and music.
33. We used to build temples, and museums are about as close as secular society dares to go in facing up to the idea that a good building can change your life (and a bad one ruin it).
34. There is an effective strategy open to architects. Whereas doctors deal with the interior organisms of man, architects deal with the exterior organisms of man. Architects might join with one another to carry on their work in laboratories as do doctors in anticipatory medicine.
35. Architects, if they are really to be comprehensive, must assume the enormous task of thinking in terms always disciplined to the scale of the total world pattern of needs, its resource flows, its recirculatory and regenerative processes.
36. Chicago has so much excellent architecture that they feel obliged to tear some of it down now and then and erect terrible buildings just to help us all appreciate the good stuff.
37. They can do without architecture who have no olives nor wines in the cellar
38. The secret of architectural excellence is to translate the proportions of a dachshund into bricks, mortar and marble.
39. Today, when so much seems to conspire to reduce life and feeling to the most deprived and demeaning bottom line, it is more important than ever that we receive that extra dimension of dignity or delight and the elevated sense of self that the art of building can provide through the nature of the places where we live and work. What counts more than style is whether architecture improves our experience of the built world; whether it makes us wonder why we never noticed places in quite this way before.
40. The architects who benefit us most maybe those generous enough to lay aside their claims to genius in order to devote themselves to assembling graceful but predominantly unoriginal boxes. Architecture should have the confidence and the kindness to be a little boring.
41. An aptitude test established architecture as an alternative [career]. But what decided the matter for [Teddy Cruz] was the sight of a fourth-year architecture student sitting at his desk at a window, drawing and nursing a cup of coffee as rain fell outside. ‘I don’t know, I just liked the idea of having this relationship to the paper and the adventure of imagining the spaces. That was the first image that captured me.
42. The architect, like other workers in our endeavor, is facing the inevitability of a change of profession: he [sic] will no longer be a builder of forms alone, but a builder of complete ambiances.
43. Inspiration in Science may have to do with ideas, but not in Art. In art it is in the senses that are instinctively responsive to the medium of expression.
44. We must change life,’ the poet [Rimbaud] had written, and so the Situationists set out to transform everyday life in the modern world through a comprehensive program that included above all else the construction of ‘situations’ — defined in 1958 as moments of life ‘concretely and deliberately constructed by the collective organization of a unitary ambiance and a play of events’ — but that also necessary entailed the supersession of philosophy, the realization of art, the abolition of politics, and the fall of the ‘spectacle-commodity economy.
45. The yard was a little centre of regeneration. Here, with keen edges and smooth curves, were forms in the exact likeness of those he had seen abraded and time-eaten on the walls. These were the ideas in modern prose which the lichened colleges presented in old poetry. Even some of those antiques might have been called prose when they were new. They had done nothing but wait, and had become poetical. How easy to the smallest building; how impossible to most men.
46. The cosmetic is cosmic.
47. One [project of Teddy Cruz’s] is titled Living Rooms at the Border. it takes a piece of land with an unused church zoned for three units and carefully arrays on it twelve affordable housing units, a community center (the converted church), offices for Casa in the church’s attic, and a garden that can accommodate street markets and kiosks. ‘In a place where current regulation allows only one use,’ [Cruz} crows, ‘ we propose five different uses that support each other. This suggests a model of social sustainability for San Diego, one that conveys density not as bulk but as social choreography.’ For both architect and patron, it’s an exciting opportunity to prove that breaking the zoning codes can be for the best. Another one of Cruz’s core beliefs is that if architects are going to achieve anything of social distinction, they will have to become developers’ collaborators or developers themselves, rather than hirelings brought in after a project’s parameters are laid out.
48. The first treatise on the interior of the body, which is to say, the treatise that gave the body an interior , written by Henri De Mondeville in the fourteenth century, argues that the body is a house, the house of the soul, which like any house can only be maintained as such by constant surveillance of its openings. The woman’s body is seen as an inadequate enclosure because its boundaries are convoluted. While it is made of the same material as a man’s body, it has ben turned inside out. Her house has been disordered, leaving its walls full of openings. Consequently, she must always occupy a second house, a building to protect her soul. Gradually this sense of vulnerability to the exterior was extended to all bodies which were then subjected to a kind of supervision traditionally given to the woman. The classical argument about her lack of self-control had been generalized.
49. A basic principle of data processing teaches the folly of trying to maintain independent files in synchonism.
50. Oneness is not sameness.
51. In Jack Nasar’s research on American’s taste in homes, only one group preferred the modernist house: architects.
52. When the old way of seeing was displaced, a hollowness came into architecture. Our buildings show a constant effort to fill that void, to recapture that sense of life which was once to be found in any house or shed. Yet the sense of place is not to be recovered through any attitude, device, or style, but through the principles of pattern, spirit, and context.” – Jonathan Hale, The Old Way of Seeing, 1994
53. I am opposed to Naperville. It’s all cute, trendy and expensive, and filled with cookie-cutter Borg houses that assimilate you into upper-middle-class America.
54. Architecture is a social act and the material theater of human activity.
55. Thus nature provides a system for proportioning the growth of plants that satisfies the three canons of architecture. All modules are isotropic and they are related to the whole structure of the plant through self-similar spirals proportioned by the golden mean.
56. On both sides of the highway I could see the rows of little frame houses, all alike, as if there were only one architect in the city and he had a magnificent obsession.
57. With the idea that a single creator can build a society wherein a huge number of people will live, Le Corbusier later approached Stalin. In India, he charmed a powerful provincial family and ended up making huge, sculptural relics in Chandigarh.
58. The unadorned gentleman’s suit was the product of the change from rigid status to social structures constantly shifting in response to the forces of modern capitalism, becoming ever more egalitarian in both appearance and reality.
59. Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.
60. Architecture appears for the first time when the sunlight hits a wall.
The sunlight did not know what it was before it hit a wall.