Inside Out

Oct. 1, 2007
From the Editor

My parents used to say, "You can never judge a book by its cover." The phrase stuck. It motivated me to disregard first impressions of people and to instead investigate their personalities.

Buildings are another story. Let's face it: People identify facilities by their façades. They may walk past a building every day for years and never step through the front door. They see pictures in publications and read about buildings they'll never visit.

In architecture, first impressions are sometimes the only impressions that matter.

But technology, once hidden deep inside a building's walls, relegated for function, not form, now can bring a building's personality out into the open. More now than at any time in history, buildings can bend and twist in almost any way imaginable. They don't have to be rectangles, squares, even circles or triangles. Mix and match the geometry and see what happens.

Whether on the outside or in, buildings don't even have to be static. They can be moving, dynamic structures that react to their environment. They can be 3-D canvases to showcase art tailor-made to them (see Facing the Future). They can change their appearance almost entirely from day to night with spectacular graphics (see Taking Shape). They can interact with occupants (see Anchors Away), and they can sparkle and shine (see Twinkle, Twinkle).

Buildings can be anything you want them to be. Does your office building look like an office building? What should an office building look like? Even if two buildings function the same way, why do their façades need to follow a preset paradigm?

By bringing a building's personality from the inside out, that first impression could be the true impression, the one that counts, the one that sticks.

And people could truly judge that book by its cover.

What do YOU think?
E-mail me at [email protected]

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