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Building simply: ethic or aesthetic? Thinking and making in an era of specialisation

Murray, G. (2007) Building simply: ethic or aesthetic? Thinking and making in an era of specialisation. ARQ - Architectural Research Quarterly, 11 (02). pp. 112-117.

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Abstract

The recent history of architecture can be characterised as a battle between attention-grabbing, 'iconic' buildings and a counteracting tendency towards the aesthetically reduced, even avowedly 'minimal'. But beneath the surface appearance of these contrasting formal tendencies - restless or serene, as demanded by their aesthetic ideals - the means of building have become relentlessly more complex to meet ever more demanding environmental and other performance requirements. It was against this background that the Design Research Unit at Cardiff University convened a one-day symposium to explore the possibility of 'Building Simply': the topic proved, not unexpectedly, elusive. Below we publish some reflections by Gordon Murray on some of the issues raised, and these are followed by three design papers - by Pierre d'Avoine, Roland Raderschall and the organisers - that addressed the topic from differing perspectives.