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Monday September 16th 2019

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Shareable | Architectural Myopia: Designing for Industry, Not People


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In the last half-century, the clear result of “architectural myopia” is buildings whose makers have been so concerned with the drama of their appearance that they fail on the most fundamental human criteria. They isolate people; they do not provide enough light; or provide a poor quality of light; they provide a hostile pedestrian environment at their edges; they cause excessive shade; or create winds in what is known as a “canyon effect”; or they trap pollutants in the “sick building syndrome”; they use resources wastefully; etc. Moreover, the buildings themselves are a wasteful use of resources, because they are not likely to be well-loved, cared for, repaired, modified, and re-used over many years. In short, it is not just that people find them ugly, but they represent a fundamentally unsustainable way of building human environments.

Read the entire article at  Shareable: Architectural Myopia: Designing for Industry, Not People.

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One Response to “Shareable | Architectural Myopia: Designing for Industry, Not People”

  1. Fenno Hoffman says:

    Michael Mahaffy is a friend of mine and his article, co-authored by a brilliant mathematician, is a powerful indictment of the architectural profession. Myopia is a problem widely shared. Certainly PLAN Boulder & The Sierra Club have demonstrated blindness to the disastrous environmental consequences of the policies they and the people they support have wrought upon our region. Certainly the planning profession is equally myopic, as are transportation engineers, whose wide roads kill people everyday. Government policies designed to regulate development must also share much of the blame for our suburban sprawling auto-dependancy and the highly segregated human habitats it has created. There is myopia in our highly polarized electorate and in our largely dysfunctional Congress as well. There is myopia in highly specialized “expertise” of every stripe. There is myopia in our internet browsing – the more predictive it gets, the less information we get that challenges our preferences. I’ll stand behind Mahaffy, but only if everyone who reads this attack will also consider their own Myopia and try hard to overcome it. By the way, to be fair, not all architects share this problem. Mahaffy is a leading New Urbanist scholar who has been working with a brilliant set of designers to transform an entire profession. He’s a “game changer.” I hope all Boulder’s special interest groups can take heed and think outside of their own boxes. It’s not easy.

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