a walking architecture unschool

4. Cartography: To foresee

5. To foresee. From predictability to foresight (PHYSIOLOGY SET OUT).

-First we decide how this future organism can be lived -what it is for. Then we foresee how it will be made possible -how can we use all resources at hand. And then, by forebuilding, we think about how it is, how it is assembled and disassembled, how can it last as much time as possible, how does it get old, how does it really work. To foresee and open possibilities at the same time.

-To plan is not an exercise of imagination, not even of constructive imagination, but of foresight. It is not a mental projection, thru images or imagery, from here to there; but rather a pendular journey, from here to there, from there to here; from now to then, from then to now. It s nothing abstract, but very concrete indeed.






-We place ourselves as the directors of the whole materialization process, deciding how to manage the resources and timing, so it is as easy and agile as possible.

-If the previous four stages have been done with precision, the rest of decisions will come out in a natural and logic way. Without inspirations, fancies, decorations or injustifiable caprices. But we need to choose, because there is often more than one possible solution. The project is not an automatic organism. It is empathetic. To project is to make the right decisions.

-It is also synergic. Once the starting conditions are understood, these will start to transform into a physiology that solves the maximum functions with the less possible resources and elements.


-To project is to think before making, so that thought and fact enrich each other, in a circular movement.

-The project is a mental activity that helps us to improve the future activities of building and dwelling, to get as closer as possible to the actions of before, while and after construction and use, minimizing impredictibility.

-We devote more time during the design process, so the construction process can be carried out in the least time possible.

-When we project, we foresee what needs to be done so everything works out fine. To be here and there at the same time, to be now and then in the same place. But there and then are uncertain, always changing. As we said, we need to work in a way that includes these eventualities in a positive way.

-In this phase, not once the project is finished, we will talk with the people that are available to materialise it, or look for whoever can do it better. This dialogue will enrich the project.

  • The maison Prouvé in Nancy (case study #10). To foresee.

 EXCURSIONS (Little exercises for young builders while on a journey):

  • Forelive and foresee your project, all at once if you can. Anticipate all its important performances. 



  • The Logic of the Plan. Frank Lloyd Wright. First Published: Architectural Record, January 1928.
    'A good plan is the beginning and the end, because every good plan is organic. That means that its development in all directions is inherent -inevitable. Scientifically (...) to foresee all is "to plan". (...) All is there seen -purpose, materials, method, character, style. (...) But it is a map, a chart, a mere diagram, a mathematical projection before the fact.

    To judge the architect one need only look at his ground plan. He is master then and there, or never. (...) Because before the plan is a plan it is a concept in some creative mind. It is, after all, only a purposeful record of that dream, which saw the destined building living in its appointed place. A dream -but precise and practical, the record to be read by the like minded.
The original plan may be thrown away as the work proceeds -probably most of those for the most wonderful buildings in the world were, because the concept grows and matures during realisation, if the mastermind is continually with the work. But that plan had first to be made. Ultimately it should be corrected and recorded.

(...) Therefore, conceive the building in the imagination, not on paper but in the mind, thoroughly -before touching paper. Let it live there -gradually taking more definite form before committing it to the draughting board. When the thing lives for you -start to plan it with tools not before. To draw during conception or "sketch", as we say, experimenting with practical adjustments to scale, is well enough if the concept is clear enough to be firmly held. It is best to cultivate the imagination to construct and complete the building before working upon it with T square and triangle.