“It might be more romantic to say “I love you” in French than it is in Cantonese; nevertheless, it is still possible to say it. It might be more touching to say it in song than in design, but saying it in design should be achievable, too.

And it is possible to say “I love you” even in architecture, as the Taj Mahal proves.”

Stefan Sagmeister, “Things I Have Learned In My Life So Far”



Some buildings have something to say. It might be a bank building saying “your money is safe in here” or a highrise saying ‘we mean business”. A house could telegraph modest comfort or shout out wealth.

Here are two buildings that tell you about different kinds of power.

Here’s the Federal office building in San Francisco.

I think it says “I’m in charge here. You are nothing.”

This is the power plant at Kennedy Airport. It glows at night and usually there’s steam coming out of the pipes.

These are buildings with clear messages. They’re like words. String buildings together on a block and you might get a sentence, in a neighborhood maybe a paragraph. And when they click it’s poetry.