Thursday, November 12, 2009

Why Architecture Matters

Here's an interesting and infomative interview (by NPR's On Point host Tom Ashbrook) of New York Times architecture critic Paul Goldberger on his latest book - Why Architecture Matters. Great American Architect Richard Meier joins in as well.

Goldberger talks about how architecture expresses our cultural identity and laments (as I do) the absence of beauty and artfulness in "ordinary buildings" constructed in America today. (Just look at utilitarian buildings constructed a hundred years ago like barns, modest homes, downtown storefronts, even power and waterworks facilities, and you'll notice a distinct attention to craft along with a respectful public face.) Seems that the social contract that once existed between builders and the public - that every building project, no matter how ordinary, takes on the responsibility of promoting the public good - has vanished as developers go for "quick and cheap."

Goldberger and Meier explain how buildings can and should express three qualities that Roman architect and engineer Vitruvius assigned architecture over two thousand years ago - firmitas (strength), utilitas (usefulness), and venustas (beauty).

Consider purchasing Paul Goldberger's book from your independent, neighborhood bookseller. Find one near you in this handy Indy Directory.

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