Best Quotes from Charles Jencks

If you look at any leaf on any tree branch, it’s similar to but not exactly a repetition of the previous branch. So the new science of complexity or showing how an architecture can be produced just as quickly, cheaply and efficiently by using computer production methods to get the slight variation, the self-similarity.

Charles Jencks

Mies van der Rohe’s architecture and modern architecture in general suffered from not only being repetitive, but not explaining to the populous what the different rooms were for.

Charles Jencks

Modern Architecture died in St. Louis, Missouri, on July 15, 1972, at 3.32 p.m. (or thereabouts), when the infamous Pruitt Igoe scheme, or rather several of its slab blocks, were given the final coup de grace by dynamite.

Charles Jencks

You have to believe in a placebo or it won’t work, but if it works, it’s obviously working in some indirect way, through feedback in the immune system, let us say, or in the willpower of the patient to take a more strenuous exercise in their own therapy.

Charles Jencks

Pick up a sunflower and count the florets running into its centre, or count the spiral scales of a pine cone or a pineapple, running from its bottom up its sides to the top, and you will find an extraordinary truth: recurring numbers, ratios and proportions.

Charles Jencks

The rule seems to be that there are no absolutes, that what is rare is prized. Thus, in times of relative affluence, thin models become dominant.

Charles Jencks

In 1979, postmodernism lost its understanding of the meaning of ornament. It degenerated into kitsch applique.

Charles Jencks

The singular point of beautiful objects, and people, is that they are experienced not as parts, or ratios between cheekbones and chin, but as wholes. The experience of beauty is a perception, but it is one that mixes up various other sensations and makes them converge in a particular way.

Charles Jencks

Beautiful people are always with us, as evolutionary psychologists and a trip to the news-stand confirm.

Charles Jencks

You know, Darwin said through natural selection things go gradually, and he was talking about pigeon’s evolution or horses evolving, getting faster. But in fact if you look at evolution on a bigger scale, cosmic evolution and you look at culture evolution you see it jumps, it goes through phase changes, and that’s very exciting.

Charles Jencks

A placebo is a phony cure that works. This is very hard for the medical profession to get their teeth around because they hate placebos, but scientifically, placebos work in about 30% of cases that are psychogenic diseases.

Charles Jencks

I do believe architecture, and all art, should be content-driven. It should have something to say beyond the sensational.

Charles Jencks

I’ve been a lucky man. I’ve only faced one real tragedy: the death of my wife, Maggie, from cancer in 1995.

Charles Jencks

It’s a mark of any icon that it should be open to iconoclasm.

Charles Jencks

A sign to me is a one-liner, a symbol is very complex and my house is a series of symbols.

Charles Jencks

If you can’t take the kitsch, get out of the kitchen.

Charles Jencks

If you look at Gothic detailing right down to the bottom of a column or the capital of a column, it’s a small version of the whole building; that’s why, like dating the backbones of a dinosaur, a good historian can look at a detail of a Gothic building and tell you exactly what the rest of the building was, and infer the whole from the parts.

Charles Jencks

What is the most interesting thing to people? Other people.

Charles Jencks

Europe has been in my bones.

Charles Jencks

Can’t you see, we are in a dialogue with the universe?

Charles Jencks

Like our attitude to love, truth and goodness, we seem to be confident about knowing what beauty is – certain, even dogmatic – until we think hard about the idea, whereupon all confidence flies away.

Charles Jencks

I think any cancer patient, if you dig not too deeply, they want to live.

Charles Jencks

I’d been to Stourhead and was inspired by the perfect parity between architecture and art; in fact, the architecture is the art. I wrote a piece called ‘Not Sculpture Park,’ because most of these things become car parks for bought-in sculpture. The artists should be working with the site, not just plonking pieces down.

Charles Jencks

The cell is a city of production centres, each part working away like mad, and it’s co-ordinated. Six trillion cells in a body – you can’t help but be moved.

Charles Jencks

Science is a victim of its own reductive metaphors: ‘Big Bang,’ ‘selfish gene’ and so on. Richard Dawkins’ selfish gene fitted with the Thatcherite politics of the time. It should actually be the ‘altruistic gene,’ but he’d never have sold as many books with a title like that.

Charles Jencks

I was already writing about the idea of a ‘multiverse’ in the 1970s, though I might have called it the ‘pluriverse.’ How was I to know it would turn out to be the standard model? Actually, I consider myself an enlightenment fossil.

Charles Jencks