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Ralph Rapson and the Fight Against ‘Un-Design’

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Starting to make the rounds a bit, with surely more to follow, is the Minneapolis StarTribune‘s recent republishing of Ralph Rapson‘s 1958 piece “The New Architectural Disorder.” Rapson, the famous architect and brilliant mind behind the original Guthrie Theater (before Jean Nouvel gave it a redesign), passed away last week, as you likely heard, and this republished essay is one of those short bits of writing that can explain one person’s career, his mindset and what their intentions were in just one quick read. It’s great. Here’s a bit:

Yet it is difficult to reconcile the top-flight individual architectural accomplishment with the unbelievably low level of over-all environmental performance. For every bit of excellence there are countless examples of ugliness.

The angry sea of un-design has all too often practically engulfed these examples because the architect cares not or dares not look beyond his immediate isolated effort.

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