Michael Sorkin (1948-2020) was a unique and prolific figure within architecture, who used design as a way to promote social equity and an art form that could change lives, now and into the future. He viewed architecture through a social, political and environmental lens.
In the recent publication, ‘Two Hundred and Fifty Things an Architect Should Know’ written by Sorkin and published posthumously, he uses striking wit to share his knowledge and make his values clear to the reader.
What went wrong in Pruitt-Igoe. Why Mies really left Germany. The rate at which the seas are rising. The comfortable tread-to-riser ratio in a wheelchair. The distance of a whisper. The components of a comfortable environment for sleep.
Two important statements he proposes in succession exclaim: Who practices? (It is your duty to secure this space for all that want to) and why do you think architecture does any good?
As an architect, it’s important to reflect on how you believe architecture does or could do good in the world. This starts with making sure anyone, from any background, who wants to be an architect or at least contribute to architecture in some way can do so.
It’s only when we allow a broad range of voices, that we can hear the needs of everyone.