Two individuals, from different professional backgrounds, and from different parts of the globe, give answers to our question of the week.
I’m a passionate observer. I like to watch. By looking at my world, I become part of it. One of the greatest pleasures I enjoy in my life is to simply walk in beautiful cities (Paris, London, Rome, New York City) and look at everything erected around me.
You can learn a lot by simply observing. You can understand a present city and it’s future simply by looking at its historical past buildings. Each brick, each window tells a unique story. From the architects initial idea to the finalization of the last placed stone, buildings in cities spin bizarre and captive stories. You only have to look to hear their tales.
Eleonora Cugurullo is an Italian architect with a MSc in sustainable design from the University of Edinburgh. Since her graduation she blogs at The Green Pilgrim about her critical thoughts related to all types of architecture:
I’ve often been asked by people who do not design for living, what my field of architecture was. Hoping not to sound too vain, I always answer that my research field is the world.
Architects should not think of the single part of their intervention, instead they should examine the complexity that surrounds it and that constantly surrounds us.
In essence, architects must observe the environment in order to design better.
A flaneur wanders around the urban space and watches the people and their life-styles. These are the basic components of “the genius loci”, the soul of the city: without it our metropolis would be dead, and our task as designer a failure.
One of my architecture teachers used to tell to the class: “When you are stuck on a project, have a walk on the beach”. It was a good piece of advice and I still follow it. When I seek inspiration, I temporarily forgot about the deadline, grab my camera, and go in search of new spots and points of views.
I choose an area where I’ve never been before and I just stay there, embracing the chaos of its sounds and its true nature. By the end of the day, not only new ideas came to me, but I also feel like I know more about that place.
Every architect should being a flaneur: to design the city and not just inside of it.
So what do you think?
Can anything positive be gained by just being a flaneur?