Buildings are everywhere, large and small, ugly and beautiful, ambitious and dumb. We walk among them and live inside them, largely passive dwellers in cities of towers, houses, open spaces and shops we had no hand in creating. But we are their best audience. Owners, clients and residents come and go, but architecture lives on, acting a role in the life of the city and its citizens long after the original players are gone.
Design is not the icing on the cake but what makes architecture out of buildings, what turns them into places we want to live and eat and shop rather than avoid.
But we are rarely roused by the day-to-day, brick-by-brick additions that have the most power to change our environment. We know what we already like but not how to describe it, or how to change it, or how to change our minds. We need to learn how to read a building, an urban plan, a developer’s rendering, and to see where critique might make a difference.