Embodied development and design

On my way to the Open University’s London regional centre, I came across this poster (‘Will you help with the repairs?’) on the underground, advertising one of the mayor’s green initiatives:

Back into daylight and I was walking down the street when I encountered this building:
I asked an office worker on a break what he thought of it (“better than what was there before!”) and the receptionist at the OU regional centre what she thought of it (“doesn’t really say anything”). Neither respondent was too impressed. Nor was I. I ask myself the following when I encounter this kind of architecture:

  • what tradition does it belong to? (my answer: postmodernism)
  • what does it evoke? (my answer: a sense of distance on a cosmic scale via space-age design)
  • what values does it embody? (my answer: disembodied and careless ones that aren’t interested in looking beyond itself – no windows. Notice also how its lines basically follow the road rather than distinguish themselves in relation to it, concealing what are presumably large, flexible spaces behind the facade. Anything could be happening within, and outsiders are encouraged to move along with the rest of the traffic)
  • what effect does it have on its ecological surroundings? (my answer: I suspect it was designed with little awareness of energy- and resource-consumption issues)
  • what effect does it have on its socio-psychological surroundings? (my answer: a deadening alienation. I find the building uninviting, ugly, and unresponsive to its surroundings. I take the culture that designed it to have a seeming disregard for its psychological impact)

It turns out the building belongs to MTV; the receptionist at the OU had seen a good many celebrities step out of their darkened cars from the vantage point of her reception desk.

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One Response to “Embodied development and design”

  1. A.I. Editor Says:

    It looks like a bad interpretation of novelty architecture..you know..like the buidings of las vegas & etc.

    Do you want to exchange links with my Movie Special blog?

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