Architecture for when we are centaurs

Elementary logic: Rob Maver

tumblr_m8arwtnYkS1qfs78no1_500It is the weekend, when from the comfort of my Barcelona Chair, sipping pinot noir, your beloved Dr Behooving develops a certain proclivity for generalisations. Shall we say then that driving and walking are broken as modes, and that the train and the bus are absolute hell, unless you’re a pickpocket. I’m glad we agree. And that just leaves cycling.

So enough of this pandering to pedestrians now. In a billion years time, our descendants will have evolved into centaurs in any case—centaurs with wheels—so why not start building for that day right now?

This nonsense of slowing down as we come to the sharp corners of buildings, it has persisted too long! Architects have known how to round off the corners of buildings since, well, the Coliseum, so I have no idea really why right angle corners on buildings persist as the norm. Let’s take a cue, shall we, from the right honorable Rob Maver, a student of mine (as I am a student of his) who suggests we simply round off our ground floors and reserve the hard angles we insist we must have for our furniture, for upper levels of buildings, away from the street.

rob maver

I’m sorry, I know I have been depriving both you and Google’s spiders of text on the web to trawl for no reason, but I have simply been too busy to think about blog posts. For starters, my new Tacx software has arrived, with artificial intelligence competitors ready to race at my whim. And compared to triathletes, and indeed a few roadies I’ve know in my time, these A.I. scallywags really aren’t bad.


I have also been busily preparing papers and talks for this symposium in Seattle and this night about bikes in New York. If I could stop thinking for a moment about what it will be like when we are centaurs with wheels, I might be able to focus on preparing something to say that my audiences will thank me for, and tell me, “thank you for that very practical advice.” But I actually think designing cities and buildings for centaurs with wheels is very practical, more practical than any of the schemes you’ll hear others promoting for taking back lane space from cars. Okay, so I’m generalising, and with this second glass of wine in my hand, generally believe I am right. And I think Rob’s on the right track as well.

Rob Maver's rational thinking

Rob Maver’s rational thinking


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