December, 2003
ISBN:
0-93451-04-7

Editor

Assistant Editor

Christine Wong
Tim Walker

Table of Contents 

Introduction by Kevin Alter

What is a good building? How do ordinary people value their buildings? How, and for what, should architects be rewarded? And by whom? It is tempting for architects to define a good building as one that possesses every conceivable architectural virtue - social, economic, ecological, aesthetic, tectonic, etc. However, not only are the virtues of buildings hard to pin down case by case, but there are trade-offs to be made and priorities to be set. . . .

Can You Tell Me What is Good Building? by Christopher Alexander

I was on the accreditation committee for Rice University's Department of Architecture fifteen or twenty years ago. I did not really know what to do because I had not been on an accreditation committee before. I spent the few days simply asking every student and faculty member I met, "Can you tell me, what is good building?". . . .

Undisclosed by Chris Macdonald

In considering the attributes of "good building," the architect's inclination to offer instruction, and, in particular, some form of moral instruction, is implicit and significant. While other issues might be similarly prompted, the formative and persisting presence of didactic impulses in architecture's modern tradition encourages serious and further scrutiny. . . .

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly by Henry Smith-Miller

The title for this essay was taken from one of Clint Eastwood's spaghetti westerns, an episode in a ficitious trilogy about the American Wild West. The seris is actually a set of contemporary morality plays, in which one's expectations are sometimes met, and players and places seem real and yet remain elusive. . . .

Architecture - A Social Art by Samuel Mockbee

Architects are, by nature and pursuit, leaders and teachers. As such, it is important to focus our critical attention on some basic issues that every architect, regardless of time and place, will have to face. These are not questions of judgment, bur rather questions of values and principles. . . .

Practice of the Everyday by Rob Wellington Quigley

Rather than discussing my work in terms of any purely intellectual or theoretical aspects it might have, this article is posed to investigate more diverse ideas of what a good building might be or how a good building might come to be. Most of us would agree that good buildings tend to be the result of unique and special circumstances. . . .

Good Building by Michael Rotondi

Good building' is a good phrase - a simple idea with many interpretations. When I was initially thinking about how to define it, the question was, "Is it an idea, an object, or a process?" I provisionally concluded that it was all three at once. . . .

Constructing the Self and Awakening Desire by Aaron Betsky

Architecture is not a service profession. There are people other than architects who are much better at making us comfortable and better at making what we think of as art. We might all agree that we don't really need an architect, but we might want architecture. . . .

And Now It is Time for Something Completely Different by John Blatteau

Today At the first day of the Good Building Conference, on cue and not inappropriately for an architecture conference with any pretensions of addressing both weighty and popular issues, The Fountainhead, Ayn Rand's epic novel of the struggle of the Modern in its triumph over the Traditional, was brought up....Yet, could Roark be so heroic if another character, Peter Keating, did not appear to be so craven?. . . .

Upside House: Speculative House Design for Etekt.com by Lewis.Tsurumaki.Lewis

The Upside House is a speculatie suburban house designed by Lewis.Tsurumaki.Lewis (LTL) for the web venture Etekt.com, an internet portal for single-family house designs. The goal of Etekt is to connect clients looking for single-family house designs with architects through an interactive website. . . .

Modern Life by Kevin Alter

Orthodox modern principle and the employment of universal techniques of mass production transformed to accommodate local exigencies defined California modernism - this exemplified best in the well-known Case-Study program. . . .

Making Memory by William Bruder

Truly memorable buildings exploit the tension between the sensual and the intellectual, strive for the balance of the poetic and pragmatic, and search for elusive qualities - both timely and timeless. Through architecture, our goal is to create original inventions of beauty and function that are simultaneously simple and complex. . . .

Part One - Showtime at the Apothic: Fashioning the Boutique Hotel by Ira Smith

Travel Case The story of the boutique hotel - where it comes from, how it works, where it might be going - is the story of a stranger's bed. What was once an innovation in dormitory design is now a commercial tide, constantly shifting and rising to meet us where we live and where we sleep, whether on the road or tucked in at home. . . .

12th issue of CAAD's Center series

CENTER 12: The Good Building cover