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Cyclopean Architecture Notes on the Active Imagination and the Synthesis of Form at Mission College

The Quality without a Name

ByDon HoustonStuart Robson

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Cyclopean Architecture Notes on the Active Imagination and the Synthesis of Form at Mission College The Quality without a Name As an architecture student, I dreamt grandiose dreams of designing community spaces that could reinvigorate the black community, spaces that would have a distinctive shape and form using conic sections. With this in mind, I assumed the responsibility of the Public Trust to exemplify what can be achieved when diversity flourishes, in essence, to dispel the negative perception of MC and turn the sorry old main building into a thing of beauty. Few African Americans have the opportunity to manage an academic institution, and even fewer still are blessed with the abundant resources placed at my command. Due to successful bond measures and a loyal team developed over the years, the future of MC wasn't only about perception but also what a very diverse group of men and women could accomplish through true teamwork. But never in my wildest imagination did I dream of designing such spaces for the common good, using the Public Trust. Such a thought was beyond my imagination as a black man in a white world. What was needed? What do students know about Mission's past, present, or future? Little, if anything, would be a safe bet. Lost in a jumble of rules, regulations, buildings, and requirements, they muddle through. No wonder they seem to wander in our educational landscape. And to make matters worse, the flat urban hardscape lacks punctuation; they would be hard-pressed to identify a landmark other than the main building, which will disappear. As we grappled with educational and facilities plans, we forgot that Mission had a story to tell, a story that students, faculty, and administrators must learn and retell as we grow into the future. The story of the current revitalization is the new myth we must craft. That story is about a "golden path" designed into the campus based on the Golden Ratio. The crafting of this tale begins with the golden spiral and what it means in math, science, art, and life. How the spiral was reintroduced during reconstruction makes the campus different and visionary. This story of the Golden Ratio then becomes a built-in metaphor for our educational objectives. When students, faculty, and administrator tell this tale, we will become the change we want to see. Don Houston Director of Maintenance and Operations Mission College Santa Clara


Publication Date
Dec 8, 2022
Creative Commons NonCommercial (CC BY-NC)
By (author): Don Houston, Edited by: Stuart Robson


Interior Color
US Letter Landscape (11 x 8.5 in / 279 x 216 mm)

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