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Philip Johnson on Great Architecture

By Maria Lorena Lehman — Get more articles like this sent to your email HERE.

Image Credit: © bee721 | Flickr
All architecture is shelter, all great architecture is the design of space that contains, cuddles, exalts, or stimulates the persons in that space.
— Philip Johnson

WHAT IS GREAT ARCHITECTURE?

Buildings are all over the place, but not all buildings are architecture. In the above quote, Philip Johnson talks about the point where a building becomes great architecture, taking an occupant to another level where a space actually “touches” a person. Through the senses, emotion, cognition and even spiritual moments — a great building has qualities that “move” you.

I think that as architects we should strive to achieve such qualities in our work, going beyond the programmatic to reach a type of language that speaks through our style. Great architecture most usually exhibits this type of quality, conveying to occupants in renewed ways or simply reminding them of something they have felt before.

Either way, great architecture taps into human experience — uncovering and creating that which inspires and often stirs our soul.

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what members are saying...
Maria: I came across your website through a reference in today's Architect Weekly ezine and am delighted I did. I'll bookmark your site and check back often. I read the first article and then the second and thirty minutes later realized how much time had passed. I've been practicing for thirty years and have always missed the stimulation of academia. I find each of your brief dissertations sort of like a day in design studio. Thanks for the inspiration.

Ron Ward
AI Group Design
I am excited to see you touch a vein of values in architecture, I have been chasing myself for years. Your depth of involvement in these very deep subjects is really beautiful and passionately dealt with and well written. Sound, color and value, shape, texture, scale, smell.... all definitive measures of the spaces we should be alert to. [...] I will savor the rest of your investigation of sensuality in architecture. I'm Glad I found you.

Dennis McLaughlin
McLaughlin Architect
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Maria Lorena Lehman is a multi award-winning visionary author, designer, and educator from the United States. Maria holds a Bachelor of Architecture with Honors from Virginia Tech and a Master in Design with Distinction from Harvard University Graduate School of Design. CLICK HERE to learn more.

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