Don’t Get People Killed
Everybody likes buildings that don’t collapse. That’s the one thing that absolutely everyone can agree about in architecture. Whether you’re building a land diving platform in Vanuatu, or a scientific research retreat in San Diego, structural integrity is the first priority. This is a long list of the kind of thing that happens when buildings fail.
By Paul Stein from New Jersey, USA (The Tower) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Structural integrity FTW! (Land diving is the ancestor of bungee jumping, and has a good safety record due to smart practices in material choice and design enforced by tradition. Nifty.)
Make Sure the Building Does Its Job
Does the structure do what it was designed to? It’s nice if your building stays up, and looks good, but does it do a good job at what it was designed to do? What if you built an award-winning library, and people found it unpleasant, or even creepy to read in? That’s a problem.
Does your building look good, or at least get across what it’s trying to communicate? Few structures aren’t meant to communicate anything. An example would be a missile silo. The best kind of missile silo is the kind nobody knows is there.
This is a Minuteman missile silo doing a very good job of not being noticed.
This is a Minuteman missile silo as a museum feature. With the addition of a skylight, it’s now doing a very good job of being a tourist attraction.
Now THIS is a building meant to communicate something.
By Michal Osmenda from Brussels, Belgium (Marie-Antoinette’s estate at Versailles, France) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
FANCY. Oh, wait, that’s just the custom-built cottage that Marie Antoinette commissioned for the grounds of the palace at Versailles.
By Michal Osmenda from Brussels, Belgium (Chateau de Versailles, France) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
There we go. That’s the real palace.
“Fancy” doesn’t quite cut it as a description. Oh Dang.
So… What Happens When Communicating Wealth Goes Wrong?
Your house gets featured on McMansionHell, an excellent blog and all-around resource for information on jaw-droppingly ill-advised buildings, and architectural theory. That’s what happens. For an even further exploration of architecture, there’s also Arch Daily Classics like these. If you really want to beef up on architecture, you can always search the library database of subjects by keyword.
Keyword search by subject. Yes, this will make your life much easier.