The New Urban Guild is dedicated to promoting the creation of better places through traditional patterns and languages of architecture and urbanism. We view the pervasiveness of disposable buildings, placeless buildings, forgettable buildings and unlovable buildings as the natural end-product of any theory of architecture that is not based primarily on human beings.

Human-based architecture has always evolved with time. It embraces technological advances not for their own sake, but for what they can do for human beings. Because it engages the public at large, human-based architecture has the power to make technological advances ubiquitous, mass-produced and therefore affordable. Human-based architecture is, therefore, the only sustainably modern architecture.

Human-based architecture has the ability to touch the minds, hearts and possibly even the spirits of those who use it because it is able to communicate with them. It communicates through a language of architectural patterns that tell stories as complex as the heritage of the culture or as simple as how to find the front door. These patterns have power precisely because they are commonly held and widely understood.

Patterns that make up human-based languages occur at the full range of scales. Some are universal, reflecting deep-seated human habitational needs that do not change over time. These patterns are analogous to universal forms of expression such as the smile or the hug. Other patterns are national or cultural in scope, and define a nation just as clearly as does the national language. Yet other patterns are regional or sub-cultural in nature, and are comparable to regional dialects of the national language. Finally, some patterns are local in nature, created by the power of a particularly strong local feature such as a mountainside or seashore.

Living traditions are the only proven delivery vehicles for true sustainability. We believe it is not only possible to revive living traditions, but that it is imperative to revive them now because no other tool can more effectively create sustainable places and buildings. The last generation to reach adulthood in an immersively traditional environment is now dying. The next generation visited immersively traditional places as children, but did not often live there. Each successive generation knows less and less of places created by living traditions. We therefore dedicate ourselves to reclaiming the living traditions before they are lost forever.

© New Urban Guild 2014