To the editor:
Architecture deeply affects our environment and daily lives. Its errors are immediately glaring. More closely connected to the life of urban planning, more rigid and unchangeable than interior design, architecture is the one most exposed to criticism.
In most other fields the standards are going up. Standards in architecture, however, have been plunging as mentioned in an Journal-World article “Stuck in Time” from March 16, 2008, where Kansas University architecture professor Dennis Domer said “the lack of modernity is a sign of the community failing to connect with the intellectual ideas of the university.”
Strong Hall on the university campus is an example of good architecture and of lasting details and workmanship, not modern really, but built within the last century. Where is the culture of buildings with great entrances and a plinth or base, like the old Carnegie Library which places the building upon the landscape? The Carnegie’s new addition fortunately honors this tradition.
We must all demand more substantial and enduring qualities, instead of the application of fashionable styles. Architecture should be neither histrionic, “cupcake style,” or so extreme that it disconnects from design for the place and climate where the new building occurs.
Healthy growth in Lawrence demands vision. New architecture should demonstrate the current technological leaps being made in green building. The glaring failure of the recent Oread Hotel architecture to address the concept of “sense of place” or contextual design should mark it as the last local design where not only architecture but sustainable and green issues were neglected.