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We Have Lost Another Zen View

Architecture influences how people think and act. An example. You enter a church in the middle of a restless city and you are overwhelmed by the peace and quietness of the place. You are able to forget the stress you had carried with you and you are a moment away to contemplate.A day later you attend a handball game in a stadium where two teams compete for entering the national league.

.Back at work, you observe the differences after the restyling of the office where a flexible work concept has been introduced. Everybody is free to choose where to start the day. There is a library where silence is required. There is a canteen where people gather for informal meetings.a presentation room, with the blinds down.

The auditorium is a special place, designed like a Greek theatre, where a few people in the centre may present their ideas to the crowd that is seated around them in different levels, not blocking the sight for nobody.And,.There is the Zen View.How should we make the most of a view? It turns out that the pattern which answers this question helps to govern not the rooms and windows in a building, but the places of transition.Christopher Alexander describes (in A Pattern Language) this and 252 other patterns as solutions to certain problems. And there is a problem, also with architecture:.

the essence of the problem with any view. It is a beautiful thing. One wants to enjoy it and drink it in every day.

But the more open it is, the more obvious, the more it shouts, the sooner it will fade. Gradually it will become part of the building, like the wallpaper; and the intensity of its beauty will no longer be accessible to the people who will live there. (the pattern language).Greenpeace started a campaign recently, warning for closing the Spanish coasts. Trying to find a virgin territory would be impossible shortly, the coasts will be swallowed by concrete walls.You could say that the environment is the loser of this constructional game.

But an ever more dangerous trend could be the impact on what people think and feel. Indifference. For example.

If there is a beautiful view, don't spoil it by building huge windows that gape incessantly at it. Instead, put the windows which look onto the view at places of transition ? along paths, in hallways, in entry ways, between rooms. If the view is correctly placed, people will see a glimpse of the distant view as they come up to the window or pass it: but the view is never visible from the places where people stay.Architects override these simple rules.

And you cannot always blame them.Yesterday, one of the Spanish newspaper (El Pais), elaborated on the cultural center in Madrid, that after a remodeling will gather most important cultural offerings on a walking distance. The heading of the article "urban madness in Madrid" (La singular locura urbana de Madrid) refers to a constant remodeling that does not seem to end; a city with no long term project and with a non-urban control that is lasting for ages.

Casariego -- mentions as one of the spokesmen in the article -- that "you cannot construct an urban culture with three top architects." And, so he continues, "The problem of the greatest architects is that many times they just do what you tell them to do.".As it is with construction on the Spanish coasts? but certainly not only the Spanish coasts ? there is always an architect to find to do the job.And the circle end in front of our own doors. We want our two weeks in the sun and we do not bother how tourism changes the way people -? that continue to live there once the last tourist has left -- think about the environment.

We have lost another Zen View. 2006 Hans Bool.

.Hans Bool is the founder of Astor White a traditional management consulting company that offers online management advice.

Astor Online solves issues in hours what normally would take days. You can apply for a free demo account.

By: Hans Bool



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