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Places Make Us
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Places Make Us


How our physical and digital environments change how we behave and even who we are. …

How our physical and digital environments change how we behave and even who we are.
An examination of how architecture and

Published in Design , Technology , Business
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  • Neolithic monument in present day TurkeyOccupied between 6300 BC to 5400 BCSupported a population of up to 6000 peopleIt was the largest and most cosmopolitan city of its time
  • Commodity, firmness, delight
  • The hotel had several design features that made up for its foundation:The reflecting pool (visible in the picture above) also provided a source of water for fire-fighting, saving the building from the post-earthquake firestorm;[1]Cantilevered floors and balconies provided extra support for the floors;A copper roof, which cannot fall on people below the way a tile roof can;Seismic separation joints, located about every 20 m along the building;Tapered walls, thicker on lower floors, increasing their strength;Suspended piping and wiring, instead of being encased in concrete, as well as smooth curves, making them more resistant to fracture.[2]
  • The MIT project, they were interviewing me for MIT and they sent their facilities people to Bilbao. I met them in Bilbao. They came for three days.W: This is the computer building.G: They were there for three days and it rained every day. And they kept walking around. I noticed they were looking under things and looking for things, and they wanted to know where the buckets were hidden, people putting buckets out. I was clean. There wasn't a bloody leak in the place. It was just fantastic. But you've got to -- yeah, well, up until then, every building leaked.W: Frank had a sort of -- sort of had a fame -- his -- his fame was built on that in L.A. for a while. You know, Frank, you've all heard the Frank Lloyd Wright story when the guy -- the woman called and said, "Mr. Wright, my -- I'm sitting in the couch and the water's pouring in on my head," and he said, "Madame, move your chair."G: So, some years later I was doing a little house on the beach for Norton Simon, and his secretary was kind of a hell-on-wheels type lady -- called me and said, Mr. Simon's sitting at his desk, and the water's coming in on his head, and I told him the Frank Lloyd Wright story.W: Didn't get a laugh.G: No. Not now either. 
  • It's the "Then What?" that most clients who hire architects -- most clients aren't hiring architects for that. They're hiring them to get it done, get it on budget, you know, and not -- you know, be polite -- and they're missing out on the -- the real value of an architect. 
  • License Some rights reserved by nottsexminer
  • You can change the same kind of software with different values
  • You can change the same kind of software with different values


  • 1. PLACES MAKE US Christina Wodtke @cwodtke
  • 2. A LOVELY STORY the house shelters daydreaming, the house protects the dreamer, the house allows one to dream in peace.” ― Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space
  • 4. My first house in Iowa City was scheduled to be torn down to be replaced by apartments. We lived month to month, not knowing when we’d move out. I learned that many of the most precious things in life aren’t forever. I’ve never loved a house so much.
  • 5. Internet as New Third Place? “All great societies provide informal meeting places, like the Forum in ancient Rome or a contemporary English pub. But since World War II, America has ceased doing so. The neighborhood tavern hasn't followed the middle class out to the suburbs...” -- Ray Oldenburg
  • 6. B=f(P,E) Behavior is a function of a Person and his Environment Lewin’s Equation
  • 7. 205 Structure Follows Social Spaces Conflict No building ever feels right to the people in it unless the physical spaces (defined by columns, walls, and ceilings) are congruent with the social spaces (defined by activities and human groups). Resolution A first principle of construction; on no account allow the engineering to dictate the building's form. Place the load bearing elements- the columns and the walls and floors- according to the social spaces of the building; never modify the social spaces to conform to the engineering structure of the building.
  • 8. The wide stairs make room for socialization, without impeding travel. This is a natural gathering spot. Flamingo Hotel in Vegas taken by Erin Malone at the IA Summit
  • 10. Cave
  • 11. Hut
  • 12. Stone Age City
  • 13. VITRUVIUS firmitas, utilitas, venustas : : durability, convenience, beauty
  • 14. Durability “Durability will be assured when foundations are carried down to the solid ground and materials wisely and liberally selected” Vitruvius
  • 15. Frank Lloyd Wright’s Imperial Hotel, Japan, survived an earthquake
  • 16. I’m searching for “my architect, not “movies, directors, actors” Technical Earthquakes
  • 17. Social Earthquakes If people post jobs in discussion areas, any user can move them to job board If people use connection invites to spam/market, they can be reported.
  • 18. Convenience “When the arrangement of the apartments is faultless and presents no hindrance to use, and when each class of building is assigned to its suitable and appropriate exposure” Vitruvius Sound familiar? We’re talking usability!
  • 19. Google’s important and unread makes it much more convenient for me to keep up Medium keeps core tools close while I work
  • 20. Is that all there is?
  • 21. “Early in life I had to choose between honest arrogance and hypocritical humility. I chose honest arrogance and have seen no occasion to change.” Frank Lloyd Wright
  • 22. Bilbao did not leak. I was so proud.
  • 23. I call it the "Then What?" Okay, you solved all the problems, you did all the stuff, you made nice, you loved your clients, you loved the materials, you loved the city, you're a good guy, you're a good person... and then what? What do you bring to it? See his great TED talk at http://www.ted.com/talks/frank_gehry_asks_then_what.html
  • 24. Beauty (delight) “when the appearance of the work is pleasing and in good taste, and when its members are in due proportion according to correct principles of symmetry.” Vitrvius
  • 25. “Less is more.” ~ Mies
  • 26. SEAGRAM BUILDING (Philip Johnson did interiors, 1957) This logical and elegant 38story skyscraper (525' H) has alternating horizontal bands of bronze plating and bronze-tinted glass and decorative bronze Ibeams which emphasize its verticality. Placed to the rear of its site and set back from Park Avenue, it incorporates a large plaza in the front as part of the design--thus avoiding the need for set-backs. It uses granite pillars at the base and has a two-story glass-enclosed lobby. Seagram Building New York City 1957 Is this Beautiful?
  • 27. “Less is a bore.” ~ Venturi
  • 28. Is this Beautiful?
  • 29. Do we dictate what is beautiful by constraining user choice?
  • 30. Or support passionate use that may not meet our aesthetic standards?
  • 31. Beautiful Durable Convenient
  • 32. Lessons from Architects INNOVATION
  • 33. Space
  • 34. Identity Social Space Activity Relationships Distribution (Viral)
  • 35. Humans don’t like empty spaces. Create starter objects – newsfeeds can be good.
  • 36. Site Site
  • 37. Julia Morgan First Bay Tradition • Natural material from site • Traditional Craft • Integrate in surrounds by Julia Morgan Asilomar, built Each building a in •the dunes of Pacific Grove unique workall found on-site, of with materials art seems to have grown out of the land it inhabits.
  • 38. Site=Context Facebook- Personal On the internet, site=context. Facebook is about being personal, playful, and selfagrandizingLinkedIN - Professional
  • 39. Site=Context Linkedin is about being professional, serious, representational and promotional Facebook- Personal LinkedIN It grows out of the- Professional resume.
  • 40. Servant and Served Spaces ‘I do not like ducts; I do not like pipes. I hate them really thoroughly, but because I hate them so thoroughly, I feel they have to be given their place. If I just hated them and took no care, I think they would invade the building and completely destroy it.’ The Notebooks and Drawings of Louis I. Kahn, 1962
  • 41. Services (settings, in this case) are separated from served)
  • 42. Services intergraded with served is easier to comprehend and use
  • 43. Centre Pompidou was designed with services revealed rather than hidden
  • 44. Services (the statistics usually only accessed by employees] are made visiable
  • 45. Views Hey, it’s the Arc de Triomphe!
  • 46. Views into people’s lives
  • 47. Views into the service before you sign up
  • 48. Speed 5 mph 25mph 60mph
  • 49. Speed 60mph 25mph 5 mph
  • 50. Movement
  • 51. Structure “And if you think of Brick, for instance, and you say to Brick, "What do you want Brick?" And Brick says to you "I like an Arch." And if you say to Brick "Look, arches are expensive, and I can use a concrete lintel over you. What do you think of that?" "Brick?" Brick says: "... I like an Arch" It’ s important to honor the material.“ – Louis
  • 52. This is a tall page
  • 53. Flipboard moves in a variety of directions
  • 54. Even if you use the “wrong” gesture, Flipboard reacts correctly.
  • 55. Gehry has been inspired recently by fish. What would a website be if it was a fish? Sound silly?
  • 56. His masterwork in Bilbao is the result of his chasing fish. It’s a school of abstract fish.
  • 57. Emotion of spaces POETICS
  • 58. What do you associate with a nest? What feelings? What memories?
  • 59. It nests at the end of a tunnel bored by itself in a bank. There, six or eight white and translucent eggs are laid, on fishbones not on bare clay, on bones thrown up in pellets by the birds. On these rejectamenta (as they accumulate they form a cupshaped structure) the young are born. And, as they are fed and grow, this nest of excrement and decayed fish becomes a dripping, fetid mass Charles Olson uses the kingfisher nest to play against the sense of security nests give us.
  • 60. The “last homely house” plays with our feelings of home and loss and preciousness
  • 62. Personality POETICS FOR PLACES ONLINE 73
  • 64. HereControl, power,poetics of power, of mastery Poetics: is the precision 75
  • 65. But here are the poetics of sketching: playful, lose and simple 76 Values: Lightweight, easy, sketchy, imprecise
  • 66. But the mixer comes from the poetics of polished and power. It breaks the mood.
  • 68. Word is about power, control, precision 79
  • 69. OmmWriter Beauty, peace, zen OmmWriter plays soft chimes, setting a mood of “the artist’s way” 80
  • 70. Iawriter’s poetics invokes Hemmingway and Wolfe. Serious, typewritten, the labor of words 81
  • 72. What is twitter?
  • 73. Cocktail party!
  • 74. What is facebook?
  • 75. The parlor, where one “entertains.”
  • 76. What is Linkedin?
  • 77. The Office (Hi Bob!)
  • 79. PLACES MAKE US MAKE GOOD PLACES @cwodtke cwodtke.com eleganthack.com