Course Information
Department of Architecture, Cornell University

Structures quotes

Jonathan Ochshorn

On structural education
Quote by Peter Eisenman, Architecture in Transition: Between Deconstruction and New Modernism, Prestel, 1997, p.41.

"Students never ask why they study structures, by the way, … in an architectural curriculum. I have never designed a structure — I do not need to know anything about it. I failed structures, as you probably could tell from my buildings, but it does not matter, because I am not allowed to design a structure in the United States or I would be sued, right? I have to hire a structural engineer… So why waste time? Better to study Latin, you know?"

On structural education
Quote by Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead, Bobbs-Merril/Macmillan, 1943, p.9.

"… You must realize that you have given Professor Peterkin great provocation."

"I do," said Roark.

"That, you see, was the trouble. I am speaking of your attitude towards the subject of architectural design. You have never given it the attention it deserves. And yet, you have been excellent in all the engineering sciences. Of course, no one denies the importance of structural engineering to a future architect, but why go to extremes? Why neglect what may be termed the artistic and inspirational side of your profession and concentrate on all those dry, technical, mathematical subjects? You intended to become an architect, not a civil engineer."

"Isn't it superfluous?" Roark asked. "It's past. There's no point in discussing my choice of subjects now."

On structural form and process
Quote by Cecil Balmond, Informal, Prestel, 2002, p.64.

"Structure need not be comprehensible and explicit. There is no creed or absolute that dictates structure must be recognised as a basic functional skeleton or the manifest of a high-tech machine. It can be subtle and more revealing. It is a richer experience to my mind if a puzzle is set or a layer of ambiguity lies over the reading of 'structure.'"

That elegant structure has a democratic content
Quote by David Billington, The Tower and the Bridge: The New Art of Structural Engineering, New York: Basic Books, 1983, p.5.

"In our own age when democratic ideals are continually being challenged by the claims of totalitarian societies, whether fascist or communist, the works of structural art provide evidence that the common life flourishes best when the goals of freedom and discipline are held in balance. The disciplines of structural art are efficiency and economy, and its freedom lies in the potential it offers the individual designer for the expression of a personal style motivated by the conscious aesthetic search for engineering elegance."