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I think that as soon as an architect claims to know very much, or become very expert about anything, (s)he is in danger of going down a wrong direction.

I mean to design using computers and build a virtual model of how the building will work demands the designer to know the proceedure very well. To have a detailed, well worked out and expert knowledge about all kinds of systems, dimensions etc.

Now the place where an architect starts from, isn’t ‘knowing alot of stuff’ and applying that stuff. But the architect tends to know very little and from that point work towards an answer.

You could not, for instance, just decide ‘to start using a computer tomorrow’ without any prior experience and training by the experts – and expect that way of using a computer to be effective. Yet that is how an architect approaches a difficult problem. They do not reach for any text books, guides, rules or LAWs. They do not set out with any pre-conceived notion of how ‘it gets done’.

I mean, that could arguably lead to a very right-brain way to design architecture. I don’t believe that using computerisation to help design of architecture – is a good fit to how the architects brain tries to work.

IT based techniques of designing, which demand a high level of skill by the user of the system. That is just not how the architects work, think or operate.

It may seem very naive to some people, to start from this kind of ‘child-like’ starting point toward design – working from a place where you have no clue at all, to a place where suddenly everything, and every last detail seems to fit snugly. But is there any other description for how the masters in architecture work?

In reference to Plug’s comments in the ‘Large Scale’ thread, I hope this post might throw at least some light on my point of view.

I don’t think, Plug, that architects would be able to design any architecture based upon a very rigid, A,B,C organised ‘right-brain’ sort of approach. And the idea, of knowing about calculating the LUX, and so forth doesn’t exactly fit into the very ‘left-brain’ kind of activity which architects do to design their stuff.

Sure, there have been experiments into integrating both the right and left brain approaches to design. I think that Bolton Street college of architecture, down through the years has been very courageous in exploring this avenue. In that respect it is very unique in its classification as a way to educate.

It is a true mongrel-Hybrid so to speak. A bit like the biologically altered species of crops, whose location is a matter of national security! 🙂

Brian O’ Hanlon.

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