Architecture is the reconciliation of ourselves with the natural land.
There was a mill near my home town. It was a tall timber structure on a stone and concrete base which held the water wheel and extended to form the dam. One did not regret its being there, because it made more than itself; it made a millpond and a waterfall, creating at once stillness and velocity; it made reflections and sound.
There was an unforgettable alliance of land to pond to dam to abutment to building. It was not a building simply imposed on a place; it became the place, and thereby deserved its being, an elegant offering paid for the use of a stream.
Its sureness made other buildings look haphazard.
Architecture seeks not only the minimal ruin of landscape but something more difficult: a replacement of what was lost with something that atones for the loss. In the best architecture this replacement is through an intensification of the place, where it emerges no worse for human intervention, (but) where culture’s shaping of the place to specific use results in a heightening of the beauty of the landscape.
In terms of settlement, we are only comforted when we see evidence of the necessity to occupy. We are pleased by deference to the landscape, in the places we refuse to occupy, the places we save from ourselves.
We want civilization to be a good thing. We want our things … to form an allegiance with the land so strong that our existence is seen as act of adoration, not an act of ruin.
Always, we must start from that initial, crucial puzzling recognition: that we are seeking justification through deference—and failing that, through economy and respectful use.
That is why farms, barns and silos always seem appropriate and beautiful.
That is why we like pig pens and deplore theme parks, because it is not necessary that buildings be beautiful, but it is necessary that they be necessary."
Excerpted from the essay Replacement by W.G. Clark
one time in my structures class the teacher asked us to guess a number and me and this guy at the back of the class both said “sixty niiiiine” at the same time and the exact same way.
it was magical.