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[hyperpublic] Herbert Burkert

Herbert of Burkert of U ofSt. Gallen is giving a talk. He claims to be ill at ease because he’s a lawyer talking about art, but I’m betting his unease is misplaced :) [Note after the talk: Yup, it was totally misplaced. Delightful talk.]

NOTE: Live-blogging. Getting things wrong. Missing points. Omitting key information. Introducing artificial choppiness. Over-emphasizing small matters. Paraphrasing badly. Not running a spellpchecker. Mangling other people’s ideas and words. You are warned, people.

He will structure his comments around two people. 1. John Peter Willebrand (1719-1786). He wrote “the outline of a beautiful city,” rules for “enhancing social happiness in cities.” He tried to coerce people into beauty. Design talk and architecture talk are dangerous, says Herbert. E.g., Le Courbousier designed how people should live. Idealists and Totalitarians do this. Contemporary designers have a more benevolent tone. So, Herbert’s first criterion: Are you actually designing for people? For example, are you imposing your idea of privacy or theirs? And are yo sure that their privacy is everybody’s privacy? How much space opportunities for people to develop and live their own lives to you give to others.

The second person: Lina Bo Bardi (1914-1992). She was an Italian architect once charged with turning a factory ground into a recreational area in Sao Paolo. What she built challenged ideas about the relation of work and recreation. The windows look like holes blown into a prison wall. From this Herbert infers that designers should be giving opportunities for social gathering, for cross-generational communication, cross-cultural communication, for variety, and for protected openness. The relation between private and public is a continuum. Is the low wall between seating areas a metaphor for scaled privacy, or should we just give up on the metaphors, at least not from architecture, because we fail to grasp the essence of electronic communication.

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