How architecture can create dignity for all | John Cary

By | April 2, 2018

If architect and writer John Cary has his way, women will never need to stand in pointlessly long bathroom lines again. Lines like these are representative of a more serious issue, Cary says: the lack of diversity in design that leads to thoughtless, compassionless spaces. Design has a unique ability to dignify and make people feel valued, respected, honored and seen — but the flip side is also true. Cary calls for architects and designers to expand their ranks and commit to serving the public good, not just the privileged few. “Well-designed spaces are not just a matter of taste or a questions of aesthetics,” he says. “They literally shape our ideas about who we are in the world and what we deserve.” And we all deserve better.

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20 thoughts on “How architecture can create dignity for all | John Cary

  1. Shankar Sivarajan

    Sure, your hospital would definitely be better if it were designed to be a mud hut.

  2. Sarah Hunter

    What he is talking about is designing the interior, the internal architecture of a structure; what Interior Designers/Interior Architects do, or are supposed do. It is a frustrating type cast that Interior Designs ‘dress’ existing buildings and that their role is to create a superficial layer(and yes, a large proportion of designers are focused only on this aspect of the process). Designing the interior is grounded in how the space is experienced. Visual impact is a significant component, but that should be addressed almost like the icing on top of the cake. How space is experienced is profoundly complex, and understanding that and be able to deconstruct and reconstruct in a tailored construction is an exceptional skill. A skill the females tend to be more capable of. No, not only, not all, not in a sexist statement, simply a fact. An intuitive and Intangible interpretation of the work is counted by the very concrete mortar and stones construction of Architecture. Just as Architecture had a very masculine government and created very masculine structures. Again, not a sexist statement, just a generalised statement of fact. There are obviously some extraordinary female Architects and it is also indisputable that Architecture is still a very masculine world. Really easy to explore the careers of established female architects as to discuss careers of female architects/interior architects/interior designers that are just starting in the field.
    It is far more important to identify what Architecture should/could/would create and give, and break down the process to fully understand it and to determine who is best suited to contribute that to a designed space and respectively, keep in mind that ultimately, the whole is greater than all its parts.
    That will be the nemesis to be grappled with!

  3. Dan

    "Are you tired of disproportionate bathroom lines? Well I'm not going to offer any solution, just criticize." – this guy ^

  4. Tre da 5'9

    What does the paint color or the placement of a clock on the wall have to do with architecture?

  5. eli dennison

    I just wanted to watch a video on architecture without being told why I'm a piece of s***.

  6. First Cynic

    Cis white male architect stands on a stage to tell all the women in the audience that the world was designed by and for cis white male architects and that nobody should trust cis white male architects… like himself.

    As if to say… "You can trust me when I say not to trust me."

  7. Overonator

    Listen up ladies, your long bathroom lines are a result of architects having immutable characteristics like being white and being a male and not valuing you. It has nothing to do with the fact that stalls take up more space than urinals (and therefore being able to service more people at once in a given area) or the fact that because of your biology, you take more time in the bathroom to urinate ON AVERAGE than males do.

    Of course "good design" has nothing to do with limitations like building and maintenance costs and budgets.

  8. judyslome1

    They toured the hospital and didnt notice there were no windows. Meaning, touring the hospital is a waste of time.

  9. Faggerest

    There is a reason why he's on Ted Talk, and not on Tedx

  10. Jack kretschmann Music

    I believe the public thought of women entering a profession, should change. And this isn't just true about architecture, but about any other profession, from low level to high level, women do not deserve to be treated the way, they are being now.

  11. Adventures with Frodo

    This is sad he goes off on ONE experience. I have been in and around multiple delivery room and he based his idealism on one experience. My suggestion is get out and see the world……

  12. gishman2

    Wait, isn't the speaker a white male architect too? Shouldn't he quit his job then?

  13. JCT

    Has this jackass ever traveled outside of his own country? Are white males designing buildings in China? India? Japan? Philippines? Everything he mentioned are common elements of design. Not only is he ignorant, but he doesn't even know his own trade that well.
    This would be a comedy routine if the legions of soy-boys in the audience didn't take him seriously.

  14. WakarimasenKa

    Install beer taps in the mens bathroom. Then the lines will be equal.. BOOM problem solved.

  15. WritersCreed

    This story makes disturbingly little sense. Your hospital room looked cold and bleh because it is not designed for anything else but being effective at delivering a baby and keeping it and your wife healthy. There is no elitism there, just cost. What do you think a new, well designed clinic costs? What part of that is the architect fees?

    Instead of claiming you need to diversify, maybe you just need to wonder why certain things are built the way they are. The better option is not left out because the architect is a white male, but because it costs way more.

  16. B uppy

    How about more handicapped stalls??? There are more disabled people who need them than designers think.

  17. Richard Manley

    If there's an architect in a movie, he's probably the killer.


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