Architecture surrounds everything that we do.
Architecture is the pinnacle of the DNA drive to provide shelter for ourselves. I have previously stated that all ... all human beings need shelter. While there are places on our planet that may have less intense requirements (examples such as tropical environments come to mind) we all still need protection from the heat, the sun, the wind, the dark, rainfall, snow and fog. So, we build. We use available materials and then process and manufacture the rest. The reality of architecture is that we build to protect ourselves and to grow our cultures, societies and communities.
Marcus Vitruvius Pollio, born between 80-90 B.C., espoused the single most fundamental dictum that all architects know and pursue, even at this writing, 2,000 years later. “Firmness, Commodity, and Delight.” Translating into contemporary language as “structure, function, and (visual) detailing.” As we look at the recent new construction projects at Penn and Plymouth Avenues North in Minneapolis, we can see the firmness, commodity (or use), and the visual detailing, that has been added to our community.
The architecture that has been added to our community has brought colors, texture, scale, dimension, materials and uses heretofore unavailable to us. This opens a door to more, future architectural opportunities. In this community the challenges will likely be greater in most other urban places due to increased number of extemporaneous factors from both the physical, economic, as well as the social realities that may have an impact on the design of the project. While all data is being synthesized to be included in the design program, the architect will pursue designs that wrap up all of this information into the most visually compelling building design possible.
Architects deal with hopes and dreams, desires and goals. The buildings that we build and inhabit are reflective of those hopes and goals, desires and dreams. We have designed many buildings, in many places, all over the world. And we shall continue to do so. We shall continue to address the internal and external issues that are particular to the project. We will not solve all of the problems. That seems to be a reality beyond human ability. But within the concept of idea, sketch, review, synthesis, analysis, documentation and execution, we architects strive to be superb.
Since July of 2017, architect Randall Bradley has been writing a multi-part series on the construction of new developments at the corners of Penn Avenue North and Plymouth Avenue North in Minneapolis.