is Ben Rudgers

Remarks: Epigram 15

“Everything should be built top-down, except the first time.”

Buildings start from the foundation and work their way up. Once they have a roof, then the interior is finished from the top down – or at least this is the good practice for multistory commercial spaces. Finishes and equipment are heavy, causing floor surfaces to deflect and the overall building to deform. Using a different sequence of construction can create bulging drywall and partition studs on the lower floors as upper floors get loaded.

Foundations get laid depending on the condition of the land, building height arises from budgets and regulations and the owner’s [architectural] program. There is little benefit to creating a door schedule and determining hardware sets early on in the process – it’s premature optimization.*

One doesn’t begin writing their Hamlet, by thinking up the phrase “To be or not to be.” The starting point is the history of Denmark, not the actors’ lines. The high level structures fall out of the constraints – and of course, high level and low level are slippery. Is a five act dramatic structure at the top or bottom? Or is it the state frame?

The issue with formalizing top-down structures is that they don’t recognize their closure within a “lexical scope.” The design of a building is constrained by the land, its features occur at a higher or lower level [depending on one’s assigned position within the debate].

* How do drawing templates [programming frameworks] fit into ideas about premature optimization? It seems that in one sense, it is like selecting a site – you have to build somewhere. On the other hand, can you really choose a programming framework – or language – before I have fully understood the problem? Well I suppose if I project myself and my knowledge of programming languages and techniques into the problem definition.