How we design and construct buildings changes over time and this is influenced by accepted cultural codes at a point and place in time, as well as the most favoured or easily available building materials, and the state of construction technologies. Buildings in effect become examples of past practices and sometimes act as repositories of knowledge or mysteries that puzzle succeeding generations as to how they were constructed (e.g. the pyramids of Giza or the Inca building complex at Machu Picchu).
For me, looking at buildings is like opening a history book where you are invited to guess as to who were the artisans who built them, what building techniques did they employ, who were the people who inhabited or utilised the building (whether it be offices, accommodation or factories) and if they have been renovated, how well does their current layout serve today’s needs whilst preserving or echoing their past?
Some buildings have exquisitely detailed facades that are sometimes hidden from the street by wide verandahs (be it in a city or a country town), and it is only when you look across to the opposite side of the street that their majesty, grandeur or timeless beauty are seen.
It is true that “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, but also timeless is the fact that good design is timeless, no matter whether it be architectural, watch or automotive design for example. Recently I had the pleasure on collaborating on capturing images of some pretty cool art deco heritage buildings for the book “Brisbane Art Deco : Stories of Our Built Heritage“.