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Downtown education

The Need for Architectural Education

by Michael R. Allen

Last week, the owners of the downtown office building where I work (917 Locust Street) had a worker spend time meticulously painting the steel doors at the rear exit and elevators. Meanwhile, the building is missing most of its downspout in rear, has a section of lobby ceiling that is unpainted after a repair and is generally fraught with more urgent maintenance issues.

While the intent of the owners seems to be future conversion to condos, making the deferred maintenance logical, the timing of the door painting was more than a little strange.

Sometimes it’s easy to conclude that very few people understand how buildings work. Would it not be great if someone undertook an educational project designed not to teach people about particular architectural styles or architects but about the mechanics of old buildings? From wealthy developers down to homeowners, the need for basic architectural education remains pressing.

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