Sunday, December 30

Sustainability/Durability + Efficiency + Utility = Beauty

I asked Robert MacNeill to consider the relationship between art and business and specifically to consider how the TARGET company invites high-end designers to make low-end products.

What type of project does the architect prefer to design?

The architect is also concerned with sustainability. But his definition of the term may vary from his client's, or from other design professionals. One definition: sustainable products are manufactured with a low impact to the environment. Another: sustainable products have a long life-span of usability and need not be replaced regularly.

The Parthenon may not be sustainable under the first definition; quarries can have a negative impact. Perhaps it should have been made of wood, because careful logging can have a lesser impact.

But I consider the Parthenon extremely sustainable. Any building that lasts 2000+ years makes very good use of its materials. It would take a whole forest to build and rebuild our wooden Parthenon for a thousand years.

Architect's own set of design principles. There are three that have been repeated for thousands of years by Vitruvius, Palladio, Gropius - even Venturi:

1) Durability (Firmitas)
2) Utility (Utilitas)
3) Beauty (Venustas)

How do these historic principles fit with those of the Target Company?

Where do Target's principles fit in to our historical view?

There is only one clear correlation between the two: Sustainability may be reinterpreted under our second definition as 1) Durability.

But according to this view, the architect is not historically concerned with Efficiency. And, it would seem that Target is not concerned with Beauty or Utility. How can we reconcile these differences? I believe the answer lies in equations.

Sustainability/Durability + Efficiency + Utility = Profitability/Beauty