- Despite designing tirelessly, the blog seek to revert and contemplate on its intention of doing Architecture. Being on the Labour Day, the blog reflect upon years of design and questions its fundamental.
Looking into history of architecture, we finalise upon 3 timeless design intention:
1. Potential in improving the living environment
Fundamental needs of architecture seeks to provide shelter and improve the living condition within and around. Contemporaries has sometime overlook these needs and explore onto making architecture that seek attention, similar to the Las Vegas Signages, of which some term as Novelty Architecture. Coupled with the celebration of iconic buildings, the contemporary design direction has been diverted and the fundamental needs are neglected.
As such, we look into the examples of architecture that have and have not, by commentary perception, successfully working with, and failed to work with the intent of the building users. Whilst these are celebrated as an iconic building, the fundamental needs are overlooked.
The ‘Fred & Ginger’ building by Gehry in Prague.
Working on the interior the building becomes inefficient in terms of structure and of space planning. Complexity of form has created waste spaces, over-structured elements, leftover spaces onto the street and problematic office planning. This takes the concept of the Duck shed where the icon becomes the building, and diminishes the spaces within.
Der Neue Zollhof, Dusseldorf, Germany, Frank O. Gehry, 1998
The building is all about themselves. Self-contained and shutting off the places around them.
CH2 (Council House 2), Melbourne, Australis, City of Melbourne in association with Mick Pearce with DesignInc
People gather in front of it. The building is surrounded by people, doing things because there are things to do.
The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Centre, Austin, Texas, Overland Partners, 1995
This is a very contemporary set of buildings around a courtyard. Nature in all its forms is present and is integrated organically into the architecture. It is a place that welcomes people and activity, creating a sense of restfulness and well-being.
Koo Tech Puat Hospital, Singapore, CPG Consultants, 2010
Nurturing, healthy gardens throughout the hospital complex are a testament to the management’s commitment to holistic wellness.
2. Possibilities in Technologies
Technologies creates new height and possibilities for architecture. From the primitive wood structure that succumbed under vermin and rain, the stone structure improve the living environment. Structure understanding allowed taller buildings and its expression. In the example below the better understanding of structure allowed from the round arch to the taller arch, buttresses to flying buttress for taller in building height and lighter interior space.
Further to that, as city densifies, indoor lighting and ventilation (fan and air condition) allows comfort living. Architecture is also governed by the possibilities in technologies. And yet, whatever the technologies (either constructed in labour, machine or digital, architecture timelessly seek expression in design.
3. Aesthetic in Expression
Ornaments existed in multiple early civilisation respectively without communication between them. Such behaviour lead to the belief for Horror Vacui, the desire to fill a space. This nonetheless created abstraction and design that is pleasant to the senses; whether they are:
in different scale,
abstraction of body,
complex or contradicting,
realism or abstraction,
antiquity or modernity,
mechanically objective or artistically subjective, and
transhistorically or transculturally, aesthetically they are pleasant to our sense. Further exploration on the philosophy of aesthetic is recommended to be referred to.
While continuing to seek more in Architecture, a look into the past architecture movement via Charles Jencks’s Evolutionary Tree 2000 tells more expressions (red) than design that really seek to improve the living environment (green). (click image to enlarge)
most images credit to Oliver Domeisen.