As designers and architects we concern ourselves with how our work looks. Does it look important? Will everyone (at least the cool people) like the way it looks? Will other designers be envious of how it looks? Why is the physical manifestation of what we create so important? Who created this barometer of beauty?  I don’t know, and it doesn’t really matter. What I do know is it is not only a measuring stick in our humble discipline of design.  Look at fashion, people, our pets for god sake.  Beauty reigns in our society.  But does it last?  One thing that I have noticed is that true sustainable beauty tends to be framed by the story that surrounds and informs it.  Have you ever noticed that perceptions change once a bit of back-story is revealed?  Things start to take on a slightly different view after we find out the why and the how come.  Architecture is like this.  I can’t tell you how many times I have loved a building at first sight, only to be disappointed after finding out it was created in the image of the architect’s favorite weekend retreat in the Hampton’s. Good, beautiful design starts with a story, an event or perspective with some teeth.  It has staying power.  It lets us live with it, take it in, examine its bones, kick the tires, test it.  Good design comes from a perspective that requires passive learning first, and then doing.  Whether it’s retail or mixed use, civic or corporate, architecture that first listens and learns, then explores and creates, manifests true beauty and depth for the user, observer, and the admirer.  Take a minute to check out some examples that truly fit the category “form follows story”.  Then take a closer look, dig deeper. I promise that you will not be disappointed.


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