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Motivation & Outcomes

October 23, 2021

A simple post revealed how we think about buildings.

On my way home yesterday the AIA Connecticut’s “Best Office Building” for over 50 employees from about 8 years ago had incredible light. I snapped a photo and posted it.

Immediately architects screamed “GOTCH’YA! LOW HOUSE! MCKIM MEAD AND WHITE!” And posted the smoking gun photo multiple times, never seeing the other joyous outings.

Um, no.

Sure, the chevron profile. But that’s about it.

So, once again, 2D outcomes over-road any interest in motivations. That is the way we have been conditioned to think, to design, to evaluate, to judge. I am, at that instant, a copycat, a pretender, a thoughtless mimic, doing a mediocre easy answer.

Well, this is the largest building in our town, over 20,000sf. It had a stringent, but flexible design code and zoning format. It is an “out building”, so:

Its height, mean grade to mean high roof had and extra height limit, it’s first floor had to be fully limited, here to about 1,000sf. A walk to the street had to be direct.

It is commercial, so it needed a lot of parking spaces. So we parked under it.

There was an aesthetic code of roof pitch, material and window type.

And voila, a 4 story building that fits. And, after 9 meetings with the Madison Advisory Council on Community Appearance we agreed to make a place.

Not a Low House.

With a street connection

With descendants

But no matter the months of design and thought, This Is The Low House

Despite a central public entry, parking under, horizontal banding, color, with sides of street facing intention, urban site planning, zoning fit and creating a civic place – this is a copy, because one profile is like another profile. No interest in “how” or “why” , just definition – just “what”. No thought, just reaction. No questions, just declaration. A single, hard, dismissal.

No, it’s the Low House.

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