Architecture Manifesto Example

3540 Words Jan 12th, 2013 15 Pages
Course: ARC 103
Title: Architecture and Sensitivity: A Manifesto for Sustainable Design

This manifesto proposes an approach to sustainable design that I am interested in exploring during my time studying architecture. The idea of sustainability is a complex one, not without apparent contradictions. This makes it difficult to define in a wholly satisfactory manner. For the purposes of this manifesto I will advert to the definition proposed by Jason McLennan who asserts that sustainable design: “seeks to maximize the quality of the built environment, while minimizing or eliminating negative impact to the natural environment.” I find this definition particularly useful in the emphasis which it places on quality. By quality, in this
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Generous architecture offers an approach which puts everyday people at the forefront of the design. This is an inclusive architecture which does not limit itself only to the client and/or private users of the building. Nobody is excluded.
An example of this kind of what might be described as “generous” architecture can be found in Norwegian firm Snøhetta’s Oslo Opera House on the waters of the Oslo Fjord, completed in 2007 (Fig. 2).

Fig. 2 Snøhetta, Oslo Opera House, 2007
Snøhetta are concerned with the social dimension of architecture and this design imaginatively reinterprets the traditional opera houses that “conventionally limit their public spaces to exterior plazas or grand lobbies, often only accessible during opening hours.” What is striking here is that their Opera House succeeds in giving back to the city a public space. The sloping rooftop becomes a new public area: a recreation space and viewing platform that you can walk on, sit on, sunbathe on, even snowboard on. As a result anyone, whether interested in Opera or not, can enjoy the space. The building has been called "a social democratic monument” by founding partner of Snøhetta, Craig Dykers – and one can see why. In a recent television interview, Dykers went on to remark:
“There is a sense of being able to place your feet onto the building that gives you a sense of ownership. At
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