Lifecycle: An Attitude and Philosophy that Informs Architecture

By Paul Zorr.

Published by The Design Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The built environment is facing a crossroad with resources and capital stressed and stagnation turning into inaction. What clear directions and solutions will develop? I propose it will take both a logical evaluation of the past and creative insights into the future to solve this problem. This paper will discuss how a new attitude, understanding, and application of Lifecycle Principles would allow us to move forward. The following illustrate four approaches: Classic Design Forever: Iconic, historic, and culturally significant buildings require the lifecycle be forever. Choice of materials and systems would be of the highest quality and durability. Buildings inspired by Oliver Wendell Holmes Classic poem “The Wonderful One-Hoss Shay” describe the philosophy of this approach.
Destined for Landfill: Architecture thought of as Machine describe our current situation where the useful value expires and is finally disposed into a landfill. Precedents learned and applied from Industrial Designers would inform this approach. A Timex or throwaway design signals a call for change.
Adaptive Re-Use Design: This attitude ensures continuity and extends a building’s useful life. We can learn from Europe and Asia where historic and cultural values are considered important to them as they respect the past and adaptively renew their buildings. Functional values change while sound building stock endures. Design for De-Construction: Finally, an approach that efficiently uses materials in an environmentally friendly way that applies production techniques to de-construct and thereby produce a more sustainable Architecture. Inspired by the Metabolist Movement in Japan raw materials would be designed for both construction and de-construction.

Keywords: Adaptive Re-Use, Classic, De-Construction, Lifecycle, Metabolist, Throwaway

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 3, Issue 5, pp.243-250. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.127MB).

Prof. Paul Zorr

Professor of Architecture, Architecture Program, School of Architecture, College of Architecture, Design, & Construction, Auburn University, Auburn, AL, USA

I have been a Professor of Architecture for 35 years and have taught at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, Illinois and Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama. While at those two universities, I have taught every Design Studio Level and Seminars in History, Theory, and Aesthetics. I have also worked for the architectural firm, Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill in Chicago. While at SOM, I had the opportunity to work on the John Hancock Center and the Sears Tower, which are two of the world’s tallest buildings. I also worked for the Architect Mies van der Rohe on The 20th Century Gallery located in Berlin Germany. This museum was his last major architectural work. My teaching passion is conceptual design and the art of Architectural Detailing applied to the making of Architecture.


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