As architects, do we understand how pervasive codes are in shaping the buildings we create? Why do we often view codes as onerous and barriers to free undertaking of design? Should we as a profession be more interested in the production of codes, or more engaged with their directives? These are the questions I posed during a recent architectural forum discussion entitled: “The Hidden Structure of Architecture.”
It is difficult to quantify the impact of codes on built form and there not there many writings on the subject. As Eran Ben-Joseph writes in his book The Code of the City:
While Ben-Joseph’s writings are focused on urban development, they hold true for building codes and how they shape our projects. When you think about it, codes touch almost every aspect of design, yet as architects we frequently take a dismissive attitude toward these mandates.
The forum discussion explored the reasons behind this uneasy relationship, looked at how building codes are typically integrated into the design process and proposed new approaches to improve how we work with codes. You can find the presentation here.
The Code of the City
Standards and the Hidden Language of Place Making
Prospecta 35 “Building Codes”
Yale Architectural Journal
Edited by Elijah Huge and Stephanie Tuerk
History of Fire and Fire Codes
Iowa State Fire Marshal Division
Critique of Milstein Hall: Fire Safety
Jonathan Ochshorn ©2012