Throughout history, media, (really any information created by humankind) has taken three forms: spoken word, still life, and performance. Translated into modern parlance: text, image, video.
Design oftentimes uses only one of these elements: still life. The particular view of a particular building or object at a specific time of day creates a monumental image seared into the viewer’s memory. In outdoor settings, a framed view on a day when every plant is flowering provides scents and delights and breezes that overwhelm the senses.
If design creates image, good design creates video.
Fun and curvy or intricate and geometric forms in plan or elevation view can create interesting moments in a design. When those moments then respond to time and magnify barely perceptible changes in light, wind direction, and seasonal plant changes, they become acts in an ongoing play.
If good design creates video, great design creates a never-ending epic.
“It’s a great building, but it’s old” refers only to a lack of maintenance or poor design, either by the architect or by the client. If a building or landscape is too large in scope to build properly, then it should be scaled down accordingly. Otherwise, you’ve removed the element of time, leaving only a series of images, each worse than the last.
Sadly, our world is now constructed of decaying images. Suburban sprawl (in both architecture and landscape), and poor maintenance across the urban gradient has traded video and the experience of good design for bad images and a few extra dollars in the short-term (dollars which are also worth less over time).
The only way to make great design part of everyday life is to embrace the media triangle. Provide text (yes, this means you have to write, architects, LA’s, and engineers), provide images, and most of all: create video.