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Three Design Basics to Stop the Ugly Building Epidemic

Too many new buildings today are simply ugly—with little to add to urban streets, and resembling buildings in every other city. Jason Hart, AIA reviews some design basics, which he hopes will arrest the ugly building epidemic.
December 4, 2015, 7am PST | wadams92101
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Alan Levine

"Too many new buildings today are simply ugly behemoths. They have little to add to our urban street scenes, and many look alike from city to city, with the same tired shapes, confused compositions, and bland materials. They give modern a bad name and only help galvanize public backlash – often with good reason," writes Jason Hart, AIA.  

He believes that building owners and developers, municipal review boards, and architects, by revisiting the fundamentals, can stop what he refers to as an "epidemic" of ugly buildings: 

We could debate the many scapegoats for ugliness: building codes, greed, politics, talent, time, but most of these building designers have simply forgotten the basics. Regardless of architectural style, all design, at its basic core, is the artful control of three elements: sizeproportion, and the organization of parts (windows, cornices, columns, etc. for buildings).

Hart goes on to review how each of these elements are utilized and interrelate to make a functional and attractive building. He concludes: 

Good buildings start with good planning, they pay attention to how people use them, and they balance size, proportion, and visual organization. Good architecture masters these aspects, and goes further to convey meaning and purpose through ideas, history, and technology that contributes to the identity of our communities. We don’t have to settle for ugly buildings; we can demand better.

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Published on Wednesday, December 2, 2015 in UrbDeZine
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