20th-century Architect Quotes
It is possible to make buildings by stringing together patterns, in a rather loose way. A building made like this, is an assembly of patterns. It is not dense. It is not profound. But it is also possible to put patterns together in such a way that many patterns overlap in the same physical space: the building is very dense; it has many meanings captured in a small space; and through this density, it becomes profound.
The combined results of the growing independence, culture and prosperity of the lesser gentry and professional classes, the sewing up of the parliamentary system, and the resulting decline in importance of the smaller freeholder was a growing gap between the polite world of the gentry and the impolite world of servants, farmers and smallholders. In terms of the country house this meant an increasing split between gentry upstairs and non-gentry downstairs. Gentlemen could now only enter household service as librarians, tutors or chaplains; in which case they did not consider themselves servants and ate with the family or on their own. The tenants and freeholders, on the other hand, had sunk in status with the upper servants.
For the scientific materialist the materialism comes first; the science comes thereafter. We might therefore more accurately term them "materialists employing science." And if materialism is true, then some materialistic theory of evolution has to be true simply as a matter of logical deduction, regardless of the evidence.
Consider this: all the ants on the planet, taken together, have a biomass greater than that of humans. Ants have been incredibly industrious for millions of years. Yet their productiveness nourishes plants, animals, and soil. Human industry has been in full swing for little over a century, yet it has brought about a decline in almost every ecosystem on the planet. Nature doesn't have a design problem. People do.
Life is very fleeting. It's important to be gentle and optimistic. We look behind and think what we've done in this life has been good. It was simple; it was modest. Everyone creates their own story and moves on. That's it. I don't feel particularly important. What we create is not important. We're very insignificant.
I came and knelt at the king's feet, and when he put the crown on my head, I felt that he had just honoured all the women of Iran. Only four years earlier we had been in the same category of the mentally handicapped: we did not even have the basic right of choosing our representatives. The crown wiped out centuries of humiliation; more surely than any law, it solemnly affirmed the equality of men and women.
Gravity is measured by the bottom of the foot; we trace the density and texture of the ground through our soles. Standing barefoot on a smooth glacial rock by the sea at sunset, and sensing the warmth of the sun-heated stone through one's soles, is an extraordinarily healing experience, making one part of the eternal cycle of nature. One senses the slow breathing of the earth.
It was perhaps a bad moment to undertake an architectural guide to the City of London. There are, at the time of writing, still whole areas lying waste after bombing in the Second World War. A number of the City churches, also, are not yet repaired or restored. Yet the publication of this volume was much asked for; so I decided to undertake it in spite of these disadvantages.
Architecture is not about building the impossible, which we can do if we have enough money and enough tools and enough computers, it is about building what is appropriate and about attaining beauty through such an approach. I describe this premise as inherent buildability and I believe it is central to what I do.
As an architect, I try to be guided not by habit but by a conscious sense of the past-by precedent, thoughtfully considered...As an artist, I frankly write about what I like in architecture: complexity and contradiction. From what we find we like-what we are easily attracted to-we can learn much of what we really are.