Why Time Is a Problem for Architects

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, London

This article was originally published on Common Edge.

Since the advent of Modernism, architects have become schizophrenic in dealing with the reality of time. This is a problem, because time and gravity are two universal forces. Architects are exquisitely good at dealing with gravity—it is present in everything we design. We study it and engineer its unrelenting requirements. Gravity does a symbiotic dance with structure. No matter how a design feigns weightlessness, its mass cannot be denied. Architects must deal with gravity, whether it’s Frank Lloyd Wright’s sagging balconies at Fallingwater or today’s steroidally enhanced parametric buildings.

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