The problems of urban development after Second World War II were largely caused by the design pedagogy which was over dominated by function. As the program changes fast, the buildings built in this period are inflexible and inadaptable, and proved too costly to be upgraded from both ecological and economical point of view. The rapid and large scale urban development in China has to avoid the similar mistake by learning the mistakes find new design pedagogy which should address the essential quality of cities and buildings which sustain for at least hundreds of years
This studio is a study of long lasting quality of buildings and cities independent from the program, and deeply rooted in the thinking of time frame.
Architecture is a question of managing resources. When we speak of quality, therefore, the biggest challenge for a building today is longevity. Construction itself represents just a very brief aspect in the lifecycle of a building; its operation phase last much longer.
For that reason, we have to break with the old way of thinking about a building purely in terms of its intended use. The primacy of fulfilling a use has to be replaced by beauty as the central objective of architectural design, because beauty is the quality which leads to the social and cultural acceptance of a building. Social and cultural acceptance are the most important premises for a building’s longevity.
A long-term perspective of more than a hundred years puts construction costs in a different light. The focus shifts from optimizing building costs to a more enduring preservation of values.
(Dietmar Eberle and Pia Simmendinger: From City to House – A design Theory, ETH Zurich, GTA Verlag 2007)