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A unique taste in buildings

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A condo developer friend of mine once told me something along the lines of this: “Brandon, I have generally learned over the years that if I like something, it probably means the general public [our purchasers] isn’t going to like it. And that’s because if I like it, there’s probably something unique or quirky about it.”

When he told me this it made perfect sense to me, because there’s a well documented taste divide that seems to exist between architects and design-types and non-architects and non-design-types (whatever this latter categorization means).

A few years ago The Architects’ Journal published an article referencing a 1987 study that took a group of students – some architecture students and some non-architecture students – and asked them to rate the attractiveness of a series of photos containing both unfamiliar people and buildings.

What they discovered was that most people had similar views on the attractiveness of the people. I guess hotness is somewhat universal. But when it came to the buildings, the viewpoints were completely opposite. The architecture students’ favorite buildings were what everyone else disliked the most.

The conclusion in the article: “Professionals are, empirically, the very worst judges available of what people want or like in the built environment.”

Photo by Simon Goetz on Unsplash

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