Selected Quotations

“Mixed-use is the essence of the future city within a city-it is vastly different from development of commercial real estate. Mixed use is not the confusion of people doing a lot of different things at random. It is living and working in an environment that clearly supports the actions of living and working separately and together. The environment is planned to promote living and working separately, and yet to bring them together clearly and to their advantage.”

The Critical Mass of Urbanism

“Our architecture can shape a denser city suited to our social changes and concerns. Our denser cities cab support our jobs. A new urbanism cab attract a balanced society which in turn can provide those human services we promise ourselves through cities.”

The Critical Mass of Urbanism

“Even in the most usual buildings, architecture is the public art that shows people what they’ve been thinking. And when architecture creates an unusual building with a new technology, it even can nudge social change forward another few inches.”

Rich is Right

“Marina City was not a deliberate protest against the Bauhaus Box. It was designed rather as a further industrialization of architecture. I found in Detroit rather than in the Bauhaus that our technology for the first time in history permits us to build whatever we think… More importantly, in the Marina City forms. I made it possible for people to participate in community formation. Both in the use of space and in the form of space I discovered that behavior can be influenced by the shape of space. The faceless anonymity of the corporate box which we had used for the buildings for our government, our health, our education, our business and our living, I discovered could be replaced more effectively by a new development of architectural structure and forms that supported its use by people.”

Rich is Right

“The art of architecture is in change. Architecture needs a face that can be recognized as commited to that change; a face to show that architecture is a social art in an industrial age, above all concerned with the individual. Architecture is not frozen music, as Goethe suggested, it is the body of humanism. Let us protect it.”

Rich is Right

“…I tried to discover if there were other ways of constructing a unified space other than with posts and beams. That was the way in which I first immersed myself in forms that had little or nothing to do with the rectangle, with the right angle…”

Oral History p. 56

“I continue to search not so much for the historical perspective – I’m not necessarily a student of the historical perspective. I am searching for my own roots. I have developed and emerged as a special interest. Critics have frequently said they don’t know where to place me in the mainstream. I am a sort of sport, a variation – the Goldberg variation, if you please? But I am satisfied that I have served my society and my time with what is on its way, and I have gone back as far as I can to find where that roadway began, where that path began… It’s not a framework. It’s not a parameter. It’s not an implosion; it’s an explosion. It’s a participation. Roots provide more participation in one’s time and in one’s society than working within a stylistic frame.”

Oral History p. 98

“…I think that there are many young people who are great architects until they are eight or ten or twelve, and we ruin them. We close them down. We say, ‘Stop producing, just manipulate. Stop creating. Stop thinking.’”

Oral History p. 109

“Architecture is not a style. It’s fine for the critics to come along and slap a handle on what has been produced and carry it away to their lecture halls, but the fact that architecture is a yeasty, living development of a social statement by those people who are skilled and trained to develop those social statements appears to too few people, too few architects”

Oral History p. 209

“I didn’t sit down at any time and say I was going to design an architecture to accomplish either some kind of community purpose or social purpose or some kind of alternate activity for people to achieve. What I believe I have tried to translate into its many forms is the tendency of of people to relate to each other. I don’t think the box or the rectilinear form of architecture, which has been so prevalent in the last portion of the nineteenth century and the early half of the twentieth century, was invented by the architects. I think that the architecture which I am describing, that the universalism which was being sought in so many areas of endeavor and creative activity in that period was a reflection of a denial at the time of the differences between people. It was a denial of if human difference. You might say it was also a denial of humanism, because to say humanism is to say that we’re made up of lots and lots of different components and different objectives and different reactions.”

Oral History p. 231

“But we are fostering the sheltering, the environment which enhances the exchange of not only words but the exchange of emotional relationships which come automatically, or perhaps genetically, as we make contact with other people. …I think we have been so casual about this in the past, as we stored people in various ways, that perhaps I am overreacting to once again make us aware of the realization that this human relationship is a very sacred thing. It’s what makes society. It’s what makes society operate.”

Oral history p. 232-233

“But I’ve had a fairly broad interest in the areas which urbanism led me to. I mean, urbanism is like saying life. It is a special kind of life, without question, but it is a very complex subject all bound up in one word-in a very small word. It’s difficult to even describe what urbanism is. Urbanism for me is simply a description of the way people come together, and it is a very natural way for people to come together.”

Oral History p. 264

“But my message, I think, is much more important either than myself personally or than the quick identification as the round-building architect. I am talking about the performance of people in a social system, about the performance of people in the city. I have spent a great deal of time not only studying what I have been able to discover, but to demonstrate it. I only wish there were more people who shared with me this interest in the role of architecture in society. I think I feel strongly about that.”

Oral History p. 275

“I hope that what my architecture has done is allowed enough freedom, enough creative potential from the people who are using my buildings to develop their own architecture, to develop their own activity, their own patterns of living, their own exploration of how to use space for living.”

Oral History p. 329