What’s Architecture for?

What’s Architecture for?

    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:

    012_01_Primitive structure and Signages

    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.

    012_02_Fred & Ginger

    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.

    012_04_COUNCIL HOUSE 2

    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.

    012_07_buttresses to flying buttress

    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.

    012_08_Possibilities in Technologies

    3. Aesthetic in Expression

    012_09_Horror Vacui

    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:









    012_14_in different scale

    in different scale,

    012_15_abstraction of body

    abstraction of body,

    012_16_abstraction of plant






    012_19_complex or contradicting

    complex or contradicting,

    012_20_realism or abstraction

    realism or abstraction,

    012_21_antiquity or modernity

    antiquity or modernity,

    012_22_mechanically objective or artistically subjective

    mechanically objective or artistically subjective, and

    012_23_historically or culturally

    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.

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