Design and Truth - download pdf or read online

By Robert Grudin

“If sturdy layout tells the truth,” writes Robert Grudin during this path-breaking e-book on esthetics and authority, “poor layout  tells a lie,  a lie frequently similar . . . to the  getting or  abusing of power.”

From the ornate cathedrals of Renaissance Europe to the much-maligned Ford Edsel of the past due Nineteen Fifties, all items of human layout converse even more than their mere meant capabilities. layout holds either mental and ethical strength over us, and those forces will be manipulated, although subtly, to wonderful impact. In a controversy that touches upon matters as possible unrelated because the eastern tea rite, Italian mannerist portray, and Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello plantation, Grudin turns his recognition to the function of layout in our day-by-day lives, focusing in particular on how political and financial powers galvanize themselves on us during the outfitted environment.

Although architects and architects will locate worthwhile insights right here, Grudin’s meant viewers isn't really completely the informed specialist yet all those that use designs and dwell inside of them each day.

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These interactions inhere in all social phenomena, including commerce, politics, war, religion, and love. Even body language is a form of rhetoric. In all of these interactions, an excess of rhetorical zeal is usually the first sign of manipu­ lation and deception. Mass-market advertising, campaign speeches, jingoism, evangelistic tirades, and seductive crooning all display the same link between exaggerated rhetoric and attempted exploitation. Indeed, we are so deep in spin that we sometimes forget that there is such a thing as truth and that people exist who are ready to tell it.

The latter consideration was apparently of little importance to the Port Authority managers. Eager to enlarge the rental space, they cut the emergency escape routes for each building from six down to three. The Port Authority did this even though each of the most likely forms of emergency—fire, nuclear attack, and earthquake—would have put the elevator system at risk. The moneymaking gambit had dramatic effects on September 11, 2001. If the Port Authority had stuck to the six-stairway code, they probably would have put one stairway at each corner of each tower, instead of bunching the three stairways together in the center of each floor.

1 Even free designers, unencumbered by front offices and left to their own devices, can fall prey to their own priorities. Thomas Jefferson, for example, was an interesting architect but a quirky one. He was fascinated by octagons, and at Poplar Forest (near Lynchburg, Virginia) he built both a house and a privy in that shape. The architectural challenge presented by the octagon, and by other broad shapes like squares and circles, is what to do with the central space. Jefferson met this challenge with another unusual design idea: a central room shaped as a perfect cube, twenty feet wide, tall, and high.

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