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Performing Arts Center

Preston Scott Cohen

Asia | Nanchino

Le Corbusier maintained that “the highest delectation of the human spirit is the perception of order and the greatest human satisfaction is the feeling of collaborating or participating in that order.’’ Ruskin, on the other hand, thought great architecture should be “restlessness in spirit, constantly dreaming”. For him, Venetian architecture was filled with playfulness and sweet imperfections: a true mirror of human nature. An organic style, it could tolerate mistakes, roughness and asymmetry since it derived from Nature where there are no “straight lines” or vacuums. I recall these conflicting statements for two reasons. First, because they turn Ruskin into a champion of two increasingly popular trends in contemporary architectural production: the eccentric and the sustainable, whose shapes and concepts are justified by “Nature-driven” rhetoric. Secondly, because there is no...

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