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ArchitectsPortraits of a Practice$
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Thomas Yarrow

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781501738494

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501738494.001.0001

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Acts of Design

Acts of Design

(p.110) Acts of Design

Thomas Yarrow

Cornell University Press

Often I watch the architects at work, captivated by the process through which designs develop and evolve. Much of this happens in silence. Eyes concentrate on screens, computer-generated images of more or less realized structures moved and remade through barely perceptible movements of the mouse. The movement of hand on tracing paper seems a more literal relationship—eye-arm-hand-pencil-paper—but the question of what it is that animates the process is no less enigmatic. Asked where their designs come from, architects offer thoughtful reflections but confess their own uncertainty about a process that is both familiar and mysterious: “total magic,” as Megan once put it during a group discussion in the office; “something comes from nothing!”...

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