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Creating buildings and environments that support life


nikosIn this episode I have the delight of connecting with Nikos Salingaros, who is a Professor in Mathematics, an Urbanist and Architectural Theorist. He is originally from Greece, but lives now in San Antonio, USA. Nikos Salingaros has for many years collaborated with Christopher Alexander and in our conversation we explore what it takes to create buildings and environments that sustain life and which resonate with our most basic human needs.

Why is it that so much of what has been built for the last 100 years seem to go against what we have consciously and unconsciously learned throughout our human history (not to mention our almost 2 million years of evolution!). How come we still create urban landscapes that are stress inducing? Why is it that most towns in the world will have numerous examples of buildings that are physically and emotionally unpleasant? Which factors have played a part in the erection of so many self referential buildings? (meaning buildings that don´t connect in appropriate ways to their surroundings or users).

Given all these questions, what can we do to reclaim some of the sanity that was typically found in the more traditional ways of creating buildings and artifacts? How can we rediscover the wisdom that is embedded in marvelous buildings such as the Hagia Sophia or Taj Mahal, but doing so without copying the actual buildings themselves? This is precisely what Salingaros and Alexander have been working on and in the interview he explains some of the essential geometrical, mathematical and human factors that support the creation of wholesome buildings and environments.

"Our society is drunk, it is intoxicated on pursuing novelty, it is pursuing novelty at all costs, even at the cost of civilization itself".

Nikos Salingaros, from the interview

If you feel inspired or provoked by our conversation feel free to add your comments after the interview. You can also send in a written piece of work and get it published together with this episode. Further details can be found here.

Episode links:

Nikos Salingaros, official website

The Nature of Order: An Essay on the Art of Building and the Nature of the Universe, Book 1 – The Phenomenon of Life,
book by Christopher Alexander,
Unified Architectural Theory: Form, Language, Complexity. A Companion to Christopher Alexander’s “The Phenomenon of Life — The Nature of Order, Book 1, book by Nikos Salingaros

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