Peter Smithson: Conversations With Students
Straight away something caught my attention within the first half of the two part reading. This was that when he was younger, Smithson had no interest in the history of architecture or how it influenced design. He was far more interested in the future of architecture, believing that everything would be made the same way pretty much every where, with white walls surrounded by nature.
However as he grew, he began to appreciate the history more. Ultimately he has investigated it so much that he knows certain periods inside out.
When asked what the biggest frustration of being an architect was, I was surprised that he said that it was the times when there was no work. Yet as I read on I understood that while he may have been frustrated with that in respect to his career, he counted it as more of a blessing than anything else. It gave him chance to study the works of others and understand the history and context of his profession. Ultimately I believe myself that this studying helps to achieve better work, and better sensitivity within that work. It would seem that Smithson also felt this way.
The second part of the reading immediately brought up something which I had not thought much of during the first part of the reading. This was the idea that these days we are surrounded by 'too much'. At that point, upon reflection, I completely agree with him.
Thinking about this statement, as bold as it is, I feel it is true. We are indeed surrounded by media and mess and dense areas of crowded populations. I think we now often consider this as being the context for which we should design but this is wrong. We should designing for less. Maybe it should be that we need to strip things down a bit and empty our designs from having so much in them.
We cannot ignore that there is more demand to have 'more'. But within this idea of making 'more', maybe we shouldn't be adding 'more' to the mix. A simple solution is, in my opinion, an elegant one. It also allows the focusing of quality over quantity. That is perhaps what I have taken the most from within the reading from this week.