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Welcome - my name is Kevin Klinkenberg, and this site "The Messy City" is my blog and company website. I started blogging on urban planning and design issues in 2007, and began working in the field in 1993. Please feel free to connect with me on any of the social media sites listed here. Thanks for reading.

More on architects and propaganda

Photo copyright of Nathan Rader

Photo copyright of Nathan Rader

Couldn't help but enjoy this tidbit from Architectural Record magazine:

Jon Lott, the principal of New York–based Para-Project, says he wants the firm's work to allure while raising questions. “Ambiguity, distortion, and estrangement are essential tools for me,” says the architect


The firm's most recently completed project, located in Syracuse and finished in November, is the Haffenden House, a writing studio for two poets who own the house next door. The clients, wanting a light-filled space with few distractions, asked that the building feel like an escape from its uninspiring surroundings. To give the house an ethereal quality, Para covered the wood-frame structure in a layer of white fabric. “It purposefully stands out,” says Lott. “I want people to pause and think about it. I hope it inspires some reflection, some intrigue and curiosity.”

Well, it certainly inspires some reflection in me. I reflect on why architects continue to think ugly  buildings and over-intellectualization are good for people and for cities. I reflect on why "distortion and estrangement" would be tools for any designer that builds permanent structures for people. I reflect on just how anti-social that language is, and wonder if some mental health counseling isn't in order. Please share with me your own reflections.

It's a pet topic of mine, admittedly, because I want my profession to get better. Far too many architects are focused on their own creative impulses and not on what's good for real human beings. Like all professions, we tend toward catering to our peers instead of our clients. I wrote about this last year as well, in regards to language as propaganda.

Sadly, this is everyday fare for architecture magazines. 

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