Slate‘s resident architecture critic Witold Rybczynski seems to be channeling a bit of his inner Andy Rooney this week with his piece, “Think Before You Build,” which asks if computers have made architects “less disciplined.” He doesn’t go so far as to say yes, nor does he discredit the very valuable help the machines lend to the profession, if just to avoid all the tedium that came before it. But he, as you likely will as well, recognizes that some of that tedium is necessary to get an architect thinking more deeply about a project, something that instantly-multiple iterations made through super 1s and 0s doesn’t always allow for. And that thinking,as he tells it, has apparently begun reaching out into architecture schools, who have “taken steps to remedy, or at least mitigate, the situation” via classes in sketching by hand and generally doing things the old fashion way so that students recognize the root of their labors. That’s something, of course, that comes with most design programs, with youngsters still using worn letter-presses and the like, before they’re headed back into Illustrator and Photoshop. Nice to learn that budding architects are getting the same treatment. Here’s a great quote Rybczynski includes from Renzo Piano:
But architecture is about thinking. It’s about slowness in some way. You need time. The bad thing about computers is that they make everything run very fast, so fast that you can have a baby in nine weeks instead of nine months. But you still need nine months, not nine weeks, to make a baby.