City of Sound is about cities, design, architecture, music, media, politics and more. Written by Dan Hill since 2001.

Maintenance as architecture

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Even in the introduction alone, Peter Lindberg finds quite a lot in Stewart Brand’s How Buildings Learn. His initial insight – in terms of the kind of software development we should focus on – is excellent:

“Brand’s point is that much of architecture today neglects maintenance and adaptation, and his book tries to find out how buildings adapt – how they learn – to see in what ways architecture needs to change.”

“In software development, despite the gaining popularity of agile methods, the trend still is to distinguish between “architects” and mere developers, and to see design as something that is to be completed before implementing. First come the architects and draw boxes and arrows, then the developers to churn out the code. Modern development tools are designed to dispense of developers, by generating the code directly from the boxes and arrows.”

“What software development needs is to stop imitating the illusion of what brick-and-mortar architecture is. According to Brand, brick-and-mortar architecture itself is in a state of illusion, having lost the knowledge of how to successfully build functioning, adaptable houses.”

Tesugen: Notes on How Buildings Learn, Introduction


4 responses to “Maintenance as architecture”

  1. andrew Avatar

    I remember chortling delightedly as I read Brand and realised that what he was talking about was how something very similar to Agile software development actually already operates within architecture. I remember sending you a possibly nonsensical email to that effect, but I suspect the small JPG in my signature, which typically arrived as an attachment, caused a lot of my mails to never get through.
    Wonderful stuff.


  2. Monkeymagic Avatar

    Lovingly building processes to last

    On a possible link between a Japanese architect who build with paper tubes and process


  3. Dan Avatar

    Trackbacks sent to this post at the time (before I turned trackbacks off):

    » Lovingly building processes to last from Monkeymagic
    On a possible link between a Japanese architect who build with paper tubes and process [Read More]



    I agree with Stewart Brand’s introduction on maintenance as Architecture.I personally am challenged in that field “Maintenance”.
    I am an Architecture student of the University of Lagos Nigeria. But I really would like to specialise on maintenance as regards Architecture.


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