Architecture Masters, Good Conventional Building, Architectural Design

Where Are the Masters in Architecture?

Design Discussion by Dr. Peter Magyar, USA

2 Oct 2012

Masters in Architecture


Maybe it is the gradually yellowing tints of the trees around us, or the golden hue of the October sun – dear Readers – you have to forgive me for some strongly nostalgic thoughts. As avid reader of everything architectural, but mostly working with drawn “texts”, while looking at the different news and articles ( not just in the excellent and up-to-date-by-the-day e-architect ), reading about the nowadays unfortunately rare victories of obtaining the commissions for master-plans, a thought doesn’t leave me to sleep.

I miss the (masterly) plans! Let me bore you with stories from my (quite distant) youth, when all the Grand Masters of Architecture were still alive, and we went around among our friends (no mobile phones then) and with awe, passed the news about a new design of Alvar Aalto, Le Corbusier, Louis Kahn or the others! The time-gap between the design and realization was even at that golden age unpredictable, so the journals had more projects, than built works on their pages. But what projects! They were of course hand-drawn plans, sections and some incredibly suggestive perspectives, which carried the heartbeat of their authors, the Masters themselves!

It is an interesting trend-change, what I am compelled to observe in my now decades-old teaching–foci. While in the beginning of my career (during the above addressed “golden age”), my suggestions and maybe nagging, addressed mainly the absence of three-dimensional thinking of my (International) students, today, however, I am really hungry to see well thought out plans, and of course, sections!

The God-blessed tools of the computer, and the overall high-mastery of that tool – like a Chinese curse – realized this desire of mine, and we are barely able to differentiate between an unbuilt and a constructed project. We all are very happy for any of these witnesses of investment and construction activity, of course, and the Victors, the Firms, as the authors of these existing and planned projects, deserve the highest praise!

None the less, a plan, and some sections, would serve well the continuous learning of interested professionals, otherwise called as architects, who – among them myself – would like to see, what is under the even so well looking skin! And in 1748, Gianbattista Nolli drew up the map of Rome, way before Google Earth, showing, not just talking, about “perfect fit” to the surrounding.

Hope, I am not alone, who reveres this achievement as one of the highest point of Geography and much more. But a site plan, would still be more effective than just words. Talking about this latter, one other thing also distinguished those aforementioned masters: they never wrote about themselves, that they are the world leader in architecture, master-planning, etc.! Even if they thought so. Or even if they were!

Dr. Peter Magyar

The guest editor of this issue of e-Architect is Dr. Peter Magyar, RIBA., an International educator, architect and author. Since 1989 he has been head and director of three Architectural Departments, or School, at the Penn State, Florida Atlantic and Kansas State Universities respectively. He is interested in the intuitive and cognitive processes of design, archived thousands of drawings in this field, some of them are published in his latest books: “Thought Palaces”, 1999 Architectura & Natura Press, and “ThinkInk”, 2010, Kendall Hunt.

Peter Magyar author of Architecture Masters: Good Conventional Building
Dr. Peter Magyar

Comments on this Architecture Masters article are welcome.

Architecture Articles by Dr. Peter Magyar – Selection

Architect Engineer Artist : 20 Mar 2012

Architectural Aura : 24 May 2011

Invention in Architecture : 7 Dec 2010

Architectural Articles – Selection

Sustainable Design : article by Trevor Tucker. 15 Sep 2009

Nature Architecture : article by Trevor Tucker. 15 Sep 2009

Design Narrative : article by Lee Miles – 7 Sep 2010

Planetization Architecture : article by Mphethi Morojele – 17 Aug 2010

Comments / photos for the Where Are the Masters in Architecture? Article page welcome