Things Avoid Designing

Things Avoid Designing

    007_02_political and social

    Architecture is determined by political and social discourse. This nonetheless created a social demand for designers to create “something” different; something that amazes. The pursuit of WOW factor in architecture has led to the confusion of novelty and innovation.

    007_03_novelty innovation

    To distinguish novelty and innovation, we look into precedent of Frank Lloyd Wright’s works. His early work, machine ornaments, resonates the mark of his mentor, Louis Sullivan. In almost every 10 years, Frank has continuously been seeking new change to his design direction. This is perceived to be innovation in the design process.

    007_04_Frank Lloyd

    While a brief google image search has indicated Daniel Libeskind, Frank Gehry and Zaha Hadid’s work to be homogenous. Even after the award of Pritzker Prize, architects have continued to design in their existing direction. This consistency in design, though perhaps innovative in their early days to pioneer such design, may have fail to innovate and pioneer further in years. These work serve only to the virtue of surprise and awe.


    The parade of global architecture being better than the local is caused by Globalisation. The import of foreign design depreciates the local initiative and encourages a pursuit of global design direction. This dilutes and create a gentrified design in most cities. Whilst not rejecting globalisation, again, designer are encouraged distinguish novelty and innovation. This is done by rejecting conformism and seek experimentation to address local issue.


    This reverberates a global phenomenon in the design industry: the creation of the two extremes: extreme homogeneity and extreme differences. These are as below:

    A homogeneity of major city skyline.

    007_11b_Similiar Design
    Coincidences of design outcome

    007_12_Green Arch
    In the aftermath of globalisation, One questions the mere defination of green architecture. A quick google image search indicated many perspectives with plants on buildings. This nonetheless evidences the gentrification of the notion of Green Architecture where sustainable consciousness is key.

    Below are the examples of extreme differences.

    The contrast of spaces in Mexico

    007_14_London St Helen
    The contrast of designs in London between St Helen and the Gherkin

    007_15_Kampung Baru
    The contrast of style between the moderinist Glass facade of KLCC Business District and the traditional Kampung Baru

    The contrast of height between Mont Kiara and Segambut

    Whilst there is always demand for a “certain” style, Designers need to be aware of the reasoning of their work, and to distinguish between design and draughting.


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