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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Knowing What Went Before

Winston Churchill once stated, “We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.” This profound statement is the foundation of any creative discipline, including landscape architecture. Even those that may not be attracted to classical style and composition can learn from its theory.

Take for instance the recent recipient of the 2011 Richard H. Driehaus Prize for Classical Architecture, New York architect Robert A.M. Stern. This award is given annually to a living architect "whose work embodies the principles of traditional and classical architecture and urbanism in contemporary society, and creates a positive cultural, environmental, and artistic impact."

This may be hard to get your noodle around but the premise of this prize is simple – do not ignore the classical theory that has shaped the multidisciplinary field of architecture. Stern himself captures this best. "I believe you cannot innovate without knowing what went before," he said. "This would not be a discussion if we were talking about music or art. I do feel it is a fragile and threatened tradition in the education and practice of architects."

This winter, understand the history. Delve into the classical theory; approach buildings and landscapes from a different point of view. Understand what Churchill really meant when he said, “We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.”

Some information used for this blog were excerpts from the attached Wall Street Journal article.
Images of New York architect Robert A.M. Stern’s work from the Internet.
Congratulations to Mr. Stern.

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© 2009

© 2009 Ann St. Jean-Bilowz/Bilowz Associates Inc. (including all photographs, unless otherwise noted in Annie's Gardening Corner are the property of Bilowz Associates Inc. and shall not be reproduced in any manner nor are they to be assigned to any third party without the expressed written permission and consent of Bilowz Associates Inc.)