9 The contracting problem
Big buildings perhaps pose the biggest problem for a way of building that can produce living structure. During the 20th century these big processes were mechanized in such a way as to disrupt the unfolding process almost completely.
As a result, in such projects especially, living structure was almost unattainable in the 20th century. Yet it is our age, the 20th century and beyond, which has given birth to these enormous building projects, and our time which therefore most urgently needs ways of building them well.
The main difficulty in the present architectural scheme, is the absence of engineers and construction managers from the driving process, and the lack of understanding how a large project involving hundreds of construction workers, and massive problems of coordination, can give each individual the liberty needed to create a living center, locally, while still together they create a coherent (structurally safe, on-budget, on-schedule) whole.
-> Example: Continually pouring concrete at Shasta dam, Mount Shasta, California
Process of this kind is will within the grasp of modern technology and engineering. The reason that architects have not, in recent years, been able to handle large projects dynamically, in a comparable way, is that they have become dissociated from engineers. Given the dress-design approach that was favored by many 20th-century architects, it was impossible for such a firm to be entrusted with a process where large-scale engineering problems were being faced, and solved, dynamically. But, in principle, it is entirely feasible.
#book/The Nature of Order/3 A Vision of a Living World/4 Large public buildings#