Dear Friends;

So far, I’m thoroughly impressed with the direction UNIT 2 is taking and look forward to working with everyone in April even if only for a few weeks. Embedding architecture and planning practice in socio-economic-ecological reality is so important. That said, we have to keep paying attention to what we – as architects – can uniquely contribute to the process…cooperating with and complementing what others bring to the action. Our eyes need to be wide open; on the other hand, we can’t know everything! So what exactly DO we uniquely contribute? When it comes time to draw lines on paper, to show what forms are where and with what dimensions…how do we know what to draw?! This has always been a conundrum. We can’t invent from scratch – that is not only impossible but unwise. We need to connect with what came before; with what can be appreciated, used and loved. So the lines we draw are not about self-expression but “cultivating the field” as Habraken suggests. Which only goes to say, “What is the field we are cultivating?!” What are the built form themes, patterns, types, systems that we can draw upon and deploy and improve on? Can we import such themes, patterns, types and systems from other places and times? Probably, but only with care. How far can we go in using conventional themes, patterns, types and systems before introducing new ones that, while interesting and perhaps effective, may seem foreign to some (especially to users).

When I figure out how to upload some PDF files, I’ll select some and do so.