Quite Unlike the Pleasures of Scratching…


Nothing old is ever reborn but neither does it totally disappear. And that which has once been born, will always reappear in a new form.


Alvar Aalto

Tradition is the challenge to innovation.”


Alvaro Siza Vieira

We must remind ourselves that buildings are not finite statements of authorial intent but rather the embodiment of concerns, conditions and human ambitions. Buildings like architecture are practices with their own internal rules, buildings are not agile; they cannot make comment; they cannot be ironic; they cannot speak. They can talk only through the decisions they enact: they take shape, they enclose, they offer views, bring in light, keep out light, they choose to be made of this material, not that. They are not one thing and shouldn’t be so. What a building does and what it might communicate are central design issues and affect every major design decision in a building.

For me the source of the architectural ideas are to be found from within the building programme and the potential of spaces contained by the building mass outside the building – spaces such as streets, courtyards, terraces, colonnades, loggias, belvederes, gardens etc; spaces that extend the building programme, spaces that form a relationship between interior and exterior, placing the building in the wider physical world. This realm has a special physical relationship with life.

Often, architects work too hard trying to make their buildings look different in order to tell a story or to convince their clients or the market.

I do not think of it primarily as either a message or a symbol, but as an envelope that is intrinsic to life which goes on, in and around it, the embodiment of our physical and emotional needs. Good buildings of our time reinstate the power of this physical world. Architecture can give us another landscape, an inspiring physical world within which we conduct our lives. Like the fields or the forests, it can gives us a background rich enough to provide inspiration and general enough to allow us to enjoy the activities of our lives.

Aren’t these decisions the very essence of the architectural act, aren’t they sufficient to make us consider and decide on a valid architectural response? Often, architects work too hard trying to make their buildings look different in order to tell a story or to convince their clients or the market.

There is a danger under the banner of innovation, when every building has to look spectacular, to look like it is changing the world. I don’t care how a building looks if it means something, not to architects, but to the people who use it. I think that the point of being an architect is to help raise the experience of everyday living, even a little. We must encourage an architecture that does not look like a graphic technique. Material, volume, and light must occupy the very centre of our craft.

Peter Korkolis is a Senior Design Architect who designs across the diverse range of projects at Baldasso Cortese. With decades of experience both in Australia and Europe for some of the world’s leading architects, Peter believes strongly in a building’s
performance and beauty as key drivers of any project. More information here.


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