Beautiful buildings shape our day to day experience. They attract visitors, induce delight and frame our lives. We need beautiful places.
Beautiful architecture is not an accident. It is most common in historic places for a reason that should seem obvious, but is missed. Today, most buildings are built for profit. There is a disconnect between the person who hires the designer and the people who live with the results. As Victor Papanek wrote:
"We all sense that something has gone terribly wrong with our communities. Hamlets and cities, slums and suburbs, all lack a sense of cohesion. Not only is there no centre there - there is no there there. Cities, towns, villages and communities that were designed hundreds of years ago are obviously based upon some basic purpose of living that eludes the designers of our own time. ... Modern designers, whose purpose is the nourishing of public taste, have tried desperately hard - and with little success - to find out what that taste is. To help in this quandary, the designer uses research, staffs and questionnaires, and what does he discover when at last his work is complete? That those for whom he has built move back to the old quarters of the city.
MarketTowns reconnect the disconnect. The people who will live with the results make the decisions (within an organised, professionally-supported structure).
When a developer builds a development, the visual elements of architecture are measured by return on investment. When the people who will live with the results make the decisions on the beauty of their home or workplace, the result is different. Authenticity and character emerge. When the person who will live there makes the decision, they will decide worth on what they want, what they enjoy, what statement they wish to make. The end buyer calls for a design that fulfills their needs and provides visual amenity for their aspirations. It reflects their character as well as their budget.
To this we add the concept of permanence. In recent times, people have become random nomads, meaning they have cut off their roots. They move from one place to another because the work takes them there, or because they keep hoping to find a more beautiful, comfortable or suitable place. As life becomes more branded, franchised and chained, this hunger grows. We become consumers of goods not citizens of the city. The MarketTown changes this. In the decision-making process, the founding villages are invited to consider not only their current needs and aspirations, but the rest of their lives and the lives of their descendents. This affects architectural design, especially if the power to call for beautiful architecture is affordable and highly variable.
For the most part, buildings will be attached so the design of each must work in harmony with the next. There are 20 villages in a MarketTown and the founders of each village must work with professionals to articulate the architectural code for their village. Some will be classical, others modern, some timeless and some avant-garde.
All villages are built in parallel, meaning that about 4,000 buildings are constructed simultaneously. This introduces economies of scale, lowering the per-unit cost. Further, it opens the opportunity to use advanced construction technology. A million dollar machine spread over 200 homes in one village costs $5,000 per building. This introduces the ability to use computer-driven 3D carving and moulding systems that produces precise surface treatment unique to each house. This technology has been developed by some of the MarketTown stewards.
In addition to these technologies, the MarketTown encourages artisans to offer beautiful components, such as hand carved doors and architraves. These hand-made details and ornament make the difference that gives a village its character and authenticity.
To learn more, go here.