A is for Architecture is an ongoing project, providing original material and resources, and additional sources, to support students and fans of architecture in their work, research, thinking, studies and entertainment. At the heart of it is a podcast, through which ideas, artefacts and people will be discussed with leading scholars, designers, artists, teachers and architects.
A is for Architecture looks at, thinks about and discusses architecture, buildings, urban culture and space. The idea underpinning all material presented here is that People Make Places. A is for Architecture attempts to unpack this.
People Make Glasgow (2013). Tangent Graphics
Image from Peter McDermott (link).
As a starter for 10, if people make places, then surely people’s values and identities should be central to the design, building and renewal of places? If people make places, wouldn’t places reflect the people? But, you may ask, doesn’t this already happen? Aren’t our cities and towns and houses made for our benefit? And isn’t our infrastructure produced in response to our needs, values and desires? Don’t they represent us already?
Well, yes and no. People make stuff which makes places, maybe. Stuff doesn’t make people, but maybe stuff makes people act in certain ways. Or better, maybe stuff makes people more likely to act in certain ways, makes certain actions more likely to occur. So the stuff of places really only supports us, or at least it probably should. But looking at our cities now, and our towns and countryside, it is increasingly characterized by a sort-of monocultural landscape of cheap, thin, messy bits-and-pieces, unplanned, thoughtless and crummy, riven by dirty roads and bad railways, mediated by an infrastructure of security, articulated by graphic inequality. And among all this, some good things from time back, which we look at and rightly wonder.
A is for Architecture is a project of Ambrose Gillick. It is a space for learning about architecture, building, space, design, cities, people and practice.
A is for Architecture supports work, podcasts and videos with scholars and practitioners, essays, written, filmed, and visual links/ sources, transcripts and anything else I think would help explain the practices, processes and artefacts of architecture.
A is for Architecture is a work in progress, and will stay that way so long as I am.
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But it’s the ‘made for us’ character of much of our urban lives that A is for Architecture wants to understand and to challenge. A is for Architecture derives from a belief that people make culture, including architectural and urban culture, for themselves, that all meaningful, sustainable urban life finds its source in the ordinary and the everyday realities of regular people doing normal, mundane things. So this site will discuss and document the story of places and people and how they come about.
And the other glitzy stuff? Well, it’s fun; sometimes it’s interesting; like a Ferrari, definitely wonderful, but not much use when you want to pop to the shops.