After been pretty much focused on being an architect for most of my life, and living in an architecture bubble at university for 3 years, I just assumed that people knew what an Architect is, what an architect does. Turns out… I was wrong. Now obviously this isn’t true of everyone but in that last couple of months, after replying to the question what did you study at university, I have been met with the response “ooo architecture, that’s posh….. what exactly does an architect do then?”
A very revealing sentence as to what the general public thinks of architecture. 1) that what we do is posh. Aimed at higher society, and something that doesn’t affect everyday people. 2) a lack of knowledge as to what it is we do. In fairness most people know its building design, but assume it to be simple drawing with a random process of room selection. and 3) seem slightly uninterested in what we do (this could also be that the people I were talking to were uninterested in talking to me rather then architecture….. anywaaaaay).
Now to me this seems like a problem. Looking from the outside in Architecture can seem, arguably, pretentious. The language used to describe buildings can alienate people who don’t understand it. Architects talk about developing relations in the space of a building, connecting with nature, the form of a building reflecting this and that, among other things. Now to people who have studied architecture it is almost expected that a building’s architect should be able to express themselves in this manner, be able to justify what they have done with the appropriate architecture lingo. However, to anybody else it sounds like non-sense and all that matters is that the building looks pretty.
It seems architects have created a somewhat elitist field that separates itself from the general public, which obviously can be seen as good in some ways. But at the end of the day (apologise for the cliché), it is the general public we design for. Everyday people are affected by the space we design and if we tried to make more effort to put across why it is designed as such, we may become more understood as a profession.
Just a thought….. its something I hope to do if I were to ever make to the level of owning a practise or even designing a building at this rate (lots more education to do).
If architecture is seem as a unnecessary frivolity, then it is will be abandoned by people who don’t understand it.
The Final Wooden House by Sou Fujimoto, built in 2008 in Kumamoto.
Built by stacking 350mmx350mm timber lengths together.
To put it simply, it is an amazing piece of spacial manipulation, creating a building that appears to have little order but that has been formed with precision. Each user is thrown into a fully three-dimensional space and allowed to perceive the building uniquely. Finding beds where others see desks, defining rooms with boundaries others fail to see. The user is left to discover the spaces, draw conclusions in their own minds to what their function might be. It is a space we can perceive as ever changing as we see new sides, and angles, to the form.
So I have been away from the blogging world for a bit too long now, and I think its about time I made a return. The last month or so has been particularly busy, I’ve moved and am now living in the foreign land of down-south. I’m working towards becoming an Essex lad, although with a Yorkshire accent like this I really doubt that is a possibility. Anyway with the move, job hunt, new football team, and new people it has been quite an effort finding free time to commit to researching and writing an (fingers crossed) interesting and thought provoking piece. Today’s return will hopefully start the fingers flowing across the keyboard, allowing me to keep updating this blog at least weekly with random posts that spark my interests, and quite possibly yours too.
As for now ill leave you with some random pictures that made me smile, either because of their genius, breath-taking sights, or pure randomness……enjoy.
this bench is brilliant! I really really want to own this
anyway there is some randomness for u
I admit to, and regret, not knowing where this quote came from, but it was used as inspiration for the model you see in these images. I hope that comes across, and you enjoy the simplicity of the representation.
Little tip for all you avid model makers out there; acrylic placed in the oven at 200 degrees for about 4-5 mins (depending on thickness) can be manipulated into some beautiful shapes.
And also, when photographing a model please use a much better camera then I did!
The work of an artist
Take a look at her blog here
The progressions onwards from my first 3 years at university has begun, and immediately the competition for everything in the ‘real world’ becomes evident. The competition for jobs, architecture related or otherwise, is huge. And from the recent experience I’ve had in moving house, the competition for homes is massive. And then of course there are actual competitions, design and architecture competitions. Its surprising difficult to find a competition that seem to fit me. I want to flex my architectural knowledge and skills, but seem to only come across large international competitions, from which previous winners have been fully fledged professionals working in practice. I long to have the time, and resources, that are available to these people, and it is my intention when I eventually become an architect to enter many competitions. But for now it seems that I may have to continue to hunt down the ‘lesser’ (I say lesser in terms of prize for example or number of entrants rather than as an insult to the competition) challenges and competitions that present themselves across the maze that is the world wide web.
In an effort to keep my brain ticking over, and thinking architecture. I have been designing a few potential extensions for some people. Taking there ideas and putting them down on paper, as well as creating a few of my own for their consideration.
This was an interesting extension to design. The top plan shows their original choice, where as the 2nd plan shows an idea I proposed to them. My design shows a large kitchen/dining space that made full use of the extension. The double doors at the end allow light into the room, and fully exploit the advantages of the south facing wall looking out over the garden.
This extension was to best use a small space at the side of the house. The additional rooms add a significant amount of floorspace, and rooms that are necessary to the house.
Whilst wondering around the world wide web today I noticed some rather surprising architecture news. The Chinese have begun constructing a perfect replica of the Austrian town of Hallstatt. The beautiful town is based in the lower regions of the Alps on a clear blue lake, and has less then 1000 residents. Homes that have stood for hundreds of years are surrounded by a stunning backdrop of rolling mountains, as the fresh water lake caresses the foundations of the town.
Hallstatt is so used to having visitors, and people taking countless pictures, that they didn’t notice anyone taking detailed images of the town from a planning perspective. The residents of the current town are said to be scandalized, and in my opinion they have every right to be. It should never get to the stage where we have to patent our own homes so people don’t copy them. The architects responsible for this ‘new’ town had the chance to creative something of their own from nothing. But instead they choose to replicate a town with so much character set in an area of, arguably, unrivaled natural beauty. It would be impossible to form the atmosphere that flows through the small, picturesque Hallstatt, and yet they are determined to do so.
Construction has already began on the town in Huizhou in the province of Guangdong. A lake has been dug out to base the town around but the mountains that should be there are nowhere to be seen. It’s those mountains, the history, the people, the growth that Hallstatt has been through that makes it such a special place the visit. A place that is unique, and should remain unique. Imitation may be said to be flattery but imitation will never be the original; will, in this case, unfortunately never be as good.
Architecture is a chance at pure creation, a chance to create something beautiful, personal, functional, a landmark on the ground. Imitation or replicating, how ever you describe it is not architecture.