the blog posts

design transparency

I was reading an article by Alexandra Lange, Architecture Without Signs, on the website of The Design ObserverGroup, which crystallized thoughts I'd had regarding some of the buildings in Hamilton. As she says, "...architecture needs to work without words. The building should point your way to its entrance without an arrow. Finding the visitors desk should not require a level change. If everyone is putting their feet on the wall, the bench is too close."

hsbc, harbourview building, front street, hamiltonHave you tried to find the entrance to AIG? Ever looked for the visitor parking when you go to that building? When you walked into the Front Street entrance of HSBC's new building, could you figure out where the tellers were located? Did you try to find the tellers from the Reid Street entrance? Good luck with all of that. 

I rode my bike the wrong way through the one-way system at AIG because I gave up. Seon Place has no five minute delivery option at that building's front door. In fact, I watched Sir John park half on/half off the sidewalk at his own building because someone forgot to design a waiting area! The Waterfront complex at Pitt's Bay Road has an expansive courtyard but in the early days it seemed serious attempts were made to stop people from utilising it for short stay parking. Seriously, who was going to drive down past Miles, park underground and walk up to the offices? No-one. 

I could be wrong but I'm pretty sure this is not rocket science. The heyday of office building construction may be over but some designers have a lot of questions to answer. Design should be transparent and too often it is not.