Architect Lance Hosey - What Do We Love?

Beginning by dryly saying that "he'll just ramble" and then, pausing - "see if you can pick up the pieces" - architect Lance Hosey procedes not to ramble at all, but to build a case for design as properly belonging to ordinary people not the designer, to the natural sciences and not necessarily art.

Design is everywhere, he says, but it's too often driven by ego. Good design should not be whatever the designer says it is. The reason is relatively straightforward: how can we, the designers, be responsible for making truly great design if we can't say what it is we're trying to make?

Appearing in New York Magazine, Hosey says that "When Buildings Attack" is his favorite piece on architecture. Among the flawed designs, it describes one building in London, which Hosey says reflects enough light to "melt cars" and fry an egg on the adjacent sidewalks.

Dispensing with the idea that green design is boring design, Hosey says it can call forth an emotional response as well. He discusses the golden ratio, fractal geometry as having a natural appeal because our biology has been shaped to respond to those forms. "We relax" in the presence their presence. As a bonus, they can offer an enormous amount of information to the human eye, and, in fact, many consumer and everyday objects use the Golden Ratio to ensure a certain appeal.

"Environmental design is redundant because all design takes place in an environment."

Just by using fabric in fluid-shaped concrete pieces, designers and architects should, but generally don't, see concrete forms as a place to innovate. Speaking about that, Hosey also talks about what designers can learn from the latest findings in neuroscience, which quickly adds, "architects are barely aware of." But now we have the "mechanics" to study the science of emotional response.

The question: to whom does architecture belong? Near the end of his presentation, Hosey throws up this conclusion, "In the end, we conserve only what we love" - Senegalese poet Baba Dioum

The question for designers: what - or who - do they love?


Image: Amber Sigman