These images are what we commonly think of as symmetry. What you see on one side is mirrored on the other side. Classical architecture relied on symmetry for powerfully balanced compositions. But for a setting as peacefully symmetrical as the Taj Mahal, I find the architecture more interesting when accompanied by the asymmetry of life.
A 1960s cover of Time magazine featured my high school as a building that could be assembled and disassembled with a screwdriver. Though not literally so, the architects of Mills High School made a bold assertion relating an entire school campus as a simple kit-of-parts. Before the recent marketing ploys of prefab homes, this school that I attended comprised prefabricated parts that could be put together like a child’s toy.
Though the high school looked like nothing more than dull institutional buildings, I wonder if the innovative thinking in the school’s design influenced how I experienced architecture.
When the Eiffel Tower was completed in 1889, it was criticized as the ugliest work of architecture and a horrific nightmare for Paris. Even prior to the completion of Gustave Eiffel’s iconic project—politicians, intellectuals, architects, and citizens banded together condemning the design.
We are both blessed and lucky, as accolades shower the work of Poon Design Inc. With several dozen national awards, alongside local and regional ones, I am honored–especially with our recent win of one of the most prestigious awards in the industry: the National AIA Award.
Each project requires grueling work and commitment. For some projects, ten years have been exhausted to transform a design sketch into an award-winning reality.
From neighboring jurisdictions to countrywide juries, the prizes bestowed on my design team validate our creative pursuits. Sharing the honors with our clients validates their trust in us.
But here is the thing: every architect I know calls himself or herself an “award-winning architect.”
It is uncommon to think of buildings as anything other than static. Generally speaking, architecture is the design of a fixed object, not of something that moves—such as a car speeding down the neighborhood street. Rather, architecture is thought of as the neighborhood street. Similarly, architecture is not performing arts, but the theater that houses the performing arts. Architecture is mostly a building made of sticks and stones, steel and glass.
It doesn’t move. But why not?
Over two decades ago, I arrived into a Los Angeles summer. Between my job at a Melrose studio working on a building in Zurich, and designing one of my first independent projects, a café in West Los Angeles, I grasped tightly my 35 mm Nikon FE2, never putting it down. This summer was an authentic and faithful period of history that preceded iPhones and the obsessive posting of self-indulgent, overly-curated photos.