Herman the Humanist

I have to admit to being a huge fan of Herman Hertzberger but even given such a prejudice, you have to admit that he really did start with people and their behaviour when considering buildings.

So it was great to come across the man discussing some of his own ideas on Youtube :



Now, I'm note entirely convinced by some of the detail he gives about why people might be doing things with the building elements, but that doesn't matter. The simple fact is that he is aware that they do this and he is also completely aware that different people will do very different things.

To quote that Lloyd chap :

That hollow feeling is the feeling of being manipulated by a building with a purpose. The purpose being to deliver an experience, like a ride at a fair ground. It might seem interesting and exciting at the time, but it's soon forgotten. What we tend to remember are the people we meet, the unexpected conversations we might have, and the funny things that happen to us; the human things that connect us. Of course these things can happen in iconic buildings, but the buildings themselves aren't helping us when they manage us through an experience in our own little bubbles, coughing us up into the gift shop at the end. (Lloyd, 2011)

And yes, I know it's hard to do this in practice but Hertzberger was also a superhero at doing this at very low cost. Some of the most effective elements he discusses in that video don't really make that much difference to the capital cost of a building.

So if anyone is thinking about becoming an architect remember this – you don't need to be an architect to start.

You just need to be human.