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[Book review] Award-winning buildings are not ‘necessarily good architecture’

[Book review] Award-winning buildings are not ‘necessarily good architecture’

Posted July. 23, 2016 06:56,   

Updated July. 23, 2016 07:14

“A building comes with three physical factors namely structure, exterior and details. Apart from spatial program, land, material and architectural methods, ‘silent efforts to increase the quality of outcome’ is required as the essence of architecture,” wrote Canadian-American architect Witold Rybczynski in the preface of his book "How Architecture Works: A Humanist's Toolkit."

Books are also the same as buildings. If the essence of a book is writings resulting from intangible efforts to fill pages with high quality sentences, the spatial program for the ‘building of a book’ is editing strategy. Agonizing over which paper to use and how to bind into book is similar to agonizing over how to formulate the exterior of a building.

The writings of the author who is an architect, writer and educator, is simple and succinct. Structure comprising combination of his experience, knowledge and insight without exaggeration and self-indulgence, increasingly stands out in the latter pages. However, as the reader reads the book through the latter pagers, he or she will feel mounting regret that it would have been greater if lighter paper was used. If the book was made in light form, so that readers can carry it handy, it would have been much easier for the reader to digest the author’s insight.

What would be "good architecture" that people think is nice. Is it a building that an architect who has won many awards designed or an architect who received a prize for in an architectural contest?

“An architectural design competition prefers something dramatic to something cautious, something simple and monumental to something well addressed, and something eye-catching to something delicate,” the author says. What he points out will not change the reality, but you will find it refreshing to read it. The original title of the book is "How Architecture Works: A Humanist's Toolkit."

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