The ability to design requires abstraction. It requires that you remove yourself from associations. For example, below is a series of watercolours painted in Georgia O’Keefee Country in New Mexico featured in my book Placing Architecture. They describe a progression, from left to right, of my letting go of what I understood the canyon edge to be until reaching the point when I began to paint purely what I saw.
The reason why I mention my profound experience in New Mexico is because when I view the Irish housing built in the countryside during the last economic boom I think people did not truly see what they were buying or commissioning. I think people see an association, a deep rooted cultural longing for ownership of the Georgian country manor. Look at our cars, their designs have evolved, we don’t drive to work nostalgically in a horse drawn carriage? In Irish politics we hear lots about sovereignty. Why can’t we as a nation emancipate ourselves with our buildings?