Jose Ortega y Gasset and Order

December 19th, 2005 by Peter Schmelzer

“Order is not pressure which is imposed on society from without, but an equilibrium which is set up from within.”

Here’s my revision:

“Order is not pressure which is imposed on architecture, but an equilibrium which is set up from within.”

This is timely in my life; we just toured the Hougen-Eitzman residence this weekend with my brother-in-law, John. He is a residential contractor in Brainerd, Minnesota. Over beers Saturday night, we got talking about design and he asked my what I would have done differently on his last house. The primary thing I saw that was lacking was order. While I was explaining it, he said something like “So, you’ve got this box and the question is how are you going to fit everything in in…?” No. The opposite. The question is how will the form and space reflect the realities of the use of the space. In essence, architectural order is defined from the inside and it permeates the whole design. It is the designer’s task to recognize the emerging patterns, relationships, and needs, and to coallesce them into a meaningful composition.

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