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Roman Architecture

Golden Arches

So I'm a firm believer in modernism.

This isn't a particularly noteworthy declaration as modernism has been around for the better part of a century. It's not that I think traditional architecture is bad (heck, I wrote a book about traditional buildings), it's just that I feel we a should be free to use all the technologies and spatial concepts that are available to us to challenge assumptions and make our world a better and more meaningful place. 

Note that there is nothing in that definition of modernism that precludes the use of more traditional forms and materials.

In other words, we see modernism as an inclusive thing. This is good as we have often been asked to design additions to buildings that are in fact more traditional in their design. For example, we recently finished a pavilion for a family in Medina County. The existing house had a series of limestone arches and in order to relate the new pavilion to what was already there it made sense to "borrow" the proportions and detailing of those arches. 

The argument could be made that the roof structure is "modern" in that it pushes the limits of its materials and is engineered to be a thin, floating plane. The base, however, is "traditional" in that it uses heavy masonry arches not that unlike those used by the ancient Romans. The two approaches are not mutually exclusive and in this little building we like to think they create something more rich than if we had limited ourselves to just being traditional or just being modern.

More importantly, these two approaches together create a shady place for a family to gather at their home to eat, to talk and to enjoy one another's company - activities that are just as relevant today as they were thousands of years ago.