Architectural Irony

October 7, 2009

windowless rooms

What’s the definition of irony again? In drama, it occurs when the audience is made (painfully) aware of something which completely bypasses the character.  In architecture we might say its what happens when a designer spends all day (painfully) in a room which is shouting out contradictory messages of which the hapless other occupants are totally unaware.

I was already thinking about windows this morning when I attended a half day seminar on Quickbook held at the offices of a local accounting firm.  The firm is located in a classic contemporary space – a warren of little hallways and fussy heavy furniture and little “details” picked out by a heavy-handed interior designer without much imagination.  The class took place in the office lunch room – a 12 by 16 by 8 foot space with a conference table, some fancy ergonomic chairs, two recessed fluorescent lights in the ceiling and two doors.  There was no natural light or air.  Here’s the irony part – the walls were hung with a series of quite-nice pen and ink sketches of historic area buildings.  Each image showed a regular attractive brick facade punctuated by many operable windows, set in an obviously down town context with happy pedestrians in the foreground.   I know its pointless but I just have to ask.  If you want to decorate your office with images of a civic oriented, well-constructed, pedestrian friendly past, why locate that office in a ticky-tacky windowless building surrounded by a strip mall parking lot moat?  Really.  Why?

windowless rooms 1

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2 Responses to “Architectural Irony”


  1. […] Architectural Irony « Lost Between the Letters  |  October 8, 2009 at 8:13 […]

  2. Marvin McConoughey Says:

    Because the space is affordable, possibly convenient, and adequate to other considerations.


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