• In the Spirit of our Time: Authenticity within Architecture

    ARCADE 33.2, Fall 2015

    By Design Principal John Marx, AIA and Pierluigi Serraino , AIA

    As far as building materials are concerned, you name it– and you can have it. If not the real thing, at least a substitute that resembles it. The result is a hash of countless combinations of materials in varying degrees of inappropriateness.” Charles Eames, “Design: Its Freedoms and Its Restraints” 1963

    The topic of authenticity underpinned the work of the modern architects of the 1920s. “Honesty of materials” and “form follows function” were two commandments rising from a militant, monolithic understanding of authenticity founded on reclaiming a closer connection between what the building hosts and its translation in built form without extraneous formal references. We are now in at a different place.

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  • Emotional Meaning: The Intangible of Architecture

    The Architect's Newspaper, April 08, 2015

    By Design Principal John Marx, AIA and Pierluigi Serraino , AIA

    Remember the last time you changed your route to stop and visit a particular building? You may have wanted to see it for some time; perhaps it was a curiosity or a tribute to your student days. Imagine you are there, entering the realm of its presence with all the particularities of your own life. That architecture is inevitable, substantive, impactful,
    consequential, and undeniably timeless. Still, in its beauty, the construction is a mute messenger of the larger order of things that you sense within, but are unable to declare. This artifact is the resonance chamber of all that is uncontainable within you.

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  • From Pencil to Mouse and Back: Design Process and Exploration in the Age of Computing

    ARCADE 30.3 Summer 2012

    By Design Principal John Marx, AIA, and Pierluigi Serraino, AIA

    We’re twenty years into the digital revolution, and much has changed in the architecture world. Practices have been redefined, sculptural forms have been built, legal contracts have been restructured and the workplace has undergone major revisions in layout and workflow. Such an extreme overhaul, unimaginable when computers first made their appearance next to drafting tables, has dislodged the certainties architecture had relied upon for centuries.

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  • Land of Missed Opportunities

    Form, September/October 2011

    By Design Principal John Marx, AIA, and Pierluigi Serraino, AIA
     
    Why does Silicon Valley hide its talents behind a slew of look-alike, nondescript office buildings? Two Bay Area architects comment on the digital empire’s dearth of design.
     
    “THERE IS NO THERE THERE,” GERTRUDE STEIN FAMOUSLY uttered upon visiting Oakland, California, in the 1930s. The same could be said for its neighbor Silicon Valley, where, since the early 1970s, the pervasive tilt-up concrete windowless structure has been the most patent expression of a culture that has jettisoned architecture. In terms of the magnitude of its inventions, the culture could easily be compared with the Florence of the Renaissance, and yet we have no movies to account for this vast urban carpet, no literature to mark the unfolding of human affairs in its dispersed fabric, no iconic image etched in the mind of the general public. We have only tales of digital marvels with no visual correlates in the real world. Visitors to the legendary Silicon Valley fail to compute the sharp contrast between the revolutionary dreams of its workers and the drab reality of its buildings. Is this industry entrenched so deep inside its digital realms that it’s lost touch with the phenomenology of the body? Is the division between work and play so razor thin as to admit no breathing room for the necessary pleasures of architecture?”

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