The ancient Roman architect Vitruvius conceived of three primary virtues for structures: beauty, utility, and firmitas, a term that can be translated as permanence. Naturally, buildings can’t be crafted to last through time immemorial. What is permanence if even stone monuments wear away into sand?
Moreover, as Washington State University architecture professor Ayad Rahmani asks in this issue’s essay, maybe the longevity of structures should be questioned. Rahmani writes about Frank Lloyd Wright’s organic view of buildings and their inevitable decay, and that we should perhaps consider their “measured return to the earth.”
We don’t really expect our buildings to last forever, but we rely … » More …