The Way of John Outram Associates


















(Professor Robert Maxwell 1995).




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There are two sorts of novelty. There is the new thing that makes one forget entirely about the old things, and there is the new thing that lets one see the old things in a new light. It is the latter that we do in JOA. We do this because novelties of the first sort are short-lived and are of no use to the project of a city. A great city only achieves that status when its whole is greater than its parts. Liveliness depends upon novelty. But it stands to reason that a lively city can never be made of novelties that do not relate to each other.So the only sort of novelty that can build a city up into something greater than the mere aggregation of its individual parts, or buildings, are novelties that are genuinely new, yet bring to mind what is already there and constitutes the city to-date.


That is why JOA has developed our peculiar form of newness. We bring to mind the old and in a way that we may be sure was understood by its makers, yet also not understood. For the quality of our sort of novelty works both ways. It allows us to reconceive the historical. But it would also (if they came back to life) allow our forefathers to see that we understood them, but had gone further, far further, than they had along the route they followed. It would, I like to imagine, engender a feeling of envy, and sorrow, in their breasts that they had not lived in our time. How different that would be to the sneaking feeliing that many Architects and Building Owners, have today that our forefathers would despise what we do today, finding it as illiterate as it is ugly.


Speaking generally, the 20C has destroyed cities, and not just by aerial bombardment. One can be proud of the achievements of technology in reducing disease and air pollution, electronic and such things. But urbanity, in the sense of a pleasant place to live, that is urbane, has been a lost cause for the past 50 years and for much of the early 20C as well.


To be continued.






For the long explanation go to "Innovations".

End of "A SIXTH ORDER",the JOA 'USP', return to : "NEWS", or go on to "OFFICE"  





* JOA can be reached by E-Mail at , by telephone on +44 (0)207 262 4862 or by fax on +44 (0)207 706 3804. We also have an ISDN number : +44 (0)207 262 6294.




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