The members of the jury were shown buildings by architects competing for an architectural award. I studied the documents describing a small red house in a rural setting, a barn converted into a dwelling which had been enlarged by the architect and the inhabitants. The extension was a success, I thought. Although you could see what had been done to the house beneath the saddle roof, the change was well modeled and integrated. The window openings were sensitively placed. The old and the new were balanced and harmonious. The new parts of the house did not seem to be saying “I am new,” but rather “I am part of the new whole.” Nothing spectacular or innovative, nothing striking. Based perhaps on a somewhat outdated design principle, an old-fashioned approach attuned to craftsmanship. We agreed that we could not award this conversion a prize for design – for that, its architectural claims were too modest. Yet I enjoy thinking back on the small red house.
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