Web tour: ArchitectureBoston: Maeda on people tech

RISD President John Maeda talks with Jeff Stein in the November/December 2008 “Hybrid” issue of ArchitectureBoston, a BSA publication. I keep mentioning Maeda, because he keeps making pithy observations. For instance, he tells Stein, “In the field of architecture, the real challenge is how our world of data has changed how we live. Architecture in the future is going to engage much more psychology, much more anthropology, much more of the human condition, and much more of the liberal arts perspective, because the act of living has become a lot more personal.” I imagine that’s why I wanted to become an architect in the first place.

Later in the interview Stein asks Maeda what he means by “humanizing technology.” Maeda says, “Some people say the best solution is high tech; some people say no, go low tech. I believe that the best solution is always less tech. Just enough, which is not usually considered an option.” How true. As someone who enjoys the world-wide web for the connections between people and ideas that technology fosters, but who still draws and drafts by hand, for both the pleasure and freedom craft allows, I’m a long-time believer in less tech.

Towards the end of the interview, Maeda emphasizes the importance of relationships. He says, “I think what has to be designed is what’s been designed forever, which is relationships: between people, between people and their objects, between people and their past…I look at the whole design question as encompassing the design of you own life.” That sounds refreshingly human.

by Katie Hutchison for the House Enthusiast