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January 04, 2005

Pyramids and campfires

A key question for Doors 8 is, how best shall we share design knowledge when and where it is most needed? Books, databases - or blogs - full of insights, tools and rules are a support, not the thing itself. The most important knowledge is embodied, and situated. There's a tension between the capacity of institutions to help us share (design) knowledge, and their opposite tendency to foster entropy. Martin Buber proposed that 'the tradition of the campfire replaces that of the pyramid'. And Bruce Chatwin, in Songlines, quotes an Indian proverb: 'Life is a bridge; cross over it, but build no house upon it'. Hmmm: now where does that leave architecture?

Posted by John Thackara at January 4, 2005 07:39 PM


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