• Not Literally Slow

    Slow is not meant to be taken literally. As a concept, it is complex and has been described most eloquently by Carl Honoré, in his book In Praise of Slowness. “Fast and Slow do more than just describe a rate of change. They are shorthand for ways of being, or philosophies of life. Fast is busy, controlling, aggressive, hurried, analytical, stressed, superficial, impatient, active, quantity-over-quality. Slow is the opposite: calm, careful, receptive, still, intuitive, unhurried, patient, reflective, quality-over-quantity. It is about making real and meaningful connections – with people, culture, work, food, everything.”

    In my web survey I have come across a few definitions of Slow Architecture that describe it as architecture that literally takes a long time to design and build. The Wikipedia entry cites this definition among others, citing the Sagrada Família, in Barcelona, as an example. I think this misses the point, or rather oversimplifies what I believe is a beautiful and complex idea. The Sagrada Familia certainly is slow in the sense that it is intuitive, unhurried, careful, reflective, deeply meaningful and connected to the site and the people. And it also happens to have taken a long time to build.

    Good architecture inherently resists speed. The creative process is organic, nonlinear, often turbulent and does not wish to be rushed. Any artist knows this. But that does not extend infinitely.  It is simply a matter of taking enough time to do it right.

    Throughout this blog I will be exploring various definitions of Slow Architecture, Slow Building, Slow Design, Slow Home and the term we have coined, Slow Space. This is an open-ended and messy journey that I hope will bring together many different strands into one larger whole.

    Image: “Sagrada Familia” (CC BY-NC 2.0) by aliby

  • The Slowskys Discover The Slow Movement

    I hadn’t actually heard of the Slow Movement until last year. When I started telling Andrew about it we both lit up. For years we had joked about being the Slowskys, the tortoise family in Comcast’s commercials from 2006.

    See one of the original commercials, We Like Slow, here.

    We are the ones who always say no to things. Our goal for every weekend with the kids is to have absolutely nothing scheduled. Even though I have trouble taking my own advice I am always counseling friends on how to cut back.

    When we started Aamodt / Plumb Architects we worked for years on our first project without fanfare or anything much to show for it. We knew we were in it for the long haul and that we were going to plod along like the tortoise and eventually get where we wanted to go. We decided on a rather boring and traditional name for our firm because, first, we are not cool enough to come up with something catchy, and second, we thought that 50 years from now we would probably still be ok with our own names.

    We were thrilled to find out there were other people out there who were trying to slow down as well, and that there was even a counterculture movement about it. So I had to revisit those Slowsky commercials and had lots of fun the other day watching them. Buried in the stack was this one from 2006 where the Slowskys start a political party, The Slow Party.

    I really think this might be prophetic.