Urban designers must do more research on how their plans affect people’s quality of life.
On Friday, Danish architect Jan Gehl, founding partner at Gehl Architects — and arguably our favourite urbanist — gave a keynote speech at the Royal Institute of British Architects annual research symposium. He highlighted how architects needed to focus less on wacky building designs, and more on the quality of life of the people who live and work in cities.
One of his criticisms was that architects design buildings and public spaces but don’t often go back after they’re built to see how people use them. This means that are missing out on opportunities to refine and improve their designs. Gehl said this is in contrast to other professions where people test and research their schemes so they can make them better.
He argued architecture is now too focused on designing buildings that look interesting at a distance, but don\’t necessarily work well up close. Gehl said part of the problem is that \”starchitects\” design buildings that are out of context with the cities they are located in.
“We now have birdshit architects that fly around and drop buildings everywhere,” he said. “The architects have been utterly confused. We have seen an increasing focus on form. Architects are now competing on form.”