existing
November 2009

Existing

In Europe as proto-architects my classmates and I toured loads of gorgeous buildings, modern and otherwise.  They were often perched on a Swiss Alp overlooking a quaint hamlet, or embedded deep in an Italian city of courtyards dripping with history.  I always thought ‘oh, it is just too easy to make beautiful things when you have beautiful surroundings.’

I will stand by that statement if allowed to season it with some complexity. It is really only too easy to take a good picture of something in a beautiful place. Making something good is still no joke.  In fact sometimes the pressure of not mucking up what is already there can stop a project in its tracks. Good thing, I would argue, in the case of pristine mountain sides.

Most of the design I appreciate begins with a sense of care for what exists. I do think you need to find something to enjoy about your given circumstances in order to make something satisfying.  I also think regardless of what you do the existing conditions will be changed by a new means of inhabitation, and not always in the ways you expect.