Making Good - Open House Dublin 2022
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Making Good

Good architecture – what’s it all about?


There’s no denying that simplified metrics of ‘good’ or ‘bad’ tend to uncover ideas about what we feel good architecture is, what it should do, or what it should be.

We all have a sense of architecture and the role it plays in our everyday lives. Buildings give shelter, shape streets, and make space for things to happen. It is curious then, that so much of architecture is only spoken about in terms of magnitude – in great, seismic moments. 

Soaring facades and blockbuster buildings; demolished venues and privatized plazas. Our attention is divided between the great and the good, the bad and the awful – so much so that the humbly successful is often overlooked. 

Many architects might consider ‘good architecture’ as an offensive or patronizing appraisal of their work – “Why isn’t it great?” 

Assessments can be troublesome. Great has implications of scale, and one must be mindful not to conflate greatness with quality. This is not to say that buildings of scale are not good, on the contrary; great can be good, but good doesn’t have to be great.

Good architecture might be considered as the sustaining architecture of the everyday. Good architecture is sensitive; it listens and responds to the rhythms of the city and the needs at-hand. Whether this entails the introduction of discreet paving to signal pedestrianisation, to the wholesale redevelopment of an urban quarter.

In many ways, the great can be seen as making way, whereas the good is simply about getting by. Some would claim good is not enough; that we must push the envelope and make everything great! An expensive endeavour to be sure. However, we often underestimate how great good can be, and little by little, enough good can turn into something great.

Contributed by Gary Hamilton


Instagram @garyhamlton & @ailbhebeatty


A street on a sunny day with buildings lining both sides with people walking on the street Public Realm, Tramore, Waterford (2022) by Ailbhe Beatty
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