Confusion: Design values

Jan 9 '14 7 Last Comment
Jan 9, 14 2:59 am


Each time I do a design project in UTS Architecture School (this may be the case with any architecture school), I have always found myself caught in many dilemmas when designing in the preliminary stage through development and detailing. There is a fine line when it comes to highly exquisite, elaborate and ornate designs, between arbitrary, ideological and unjustified designs and one that is well justified, rationalised and backed by argumentation.

Even if I can prove, argue a case and defend my design that is highly exquisite, ornate and elegant, I still don't understand why professors make such objections, compared to the cases where architecture is designed as ugly. I don't understand why professors would object the least to designs that are overly complex, if not conceptually complex, compared to designs that can be conceptually complex and principled on formal and structural simplicity. Obviously, design integrity and simplicity are far more challenging than otherwise, and a good architect resolves complex issues and parameters through simple, integrated design - not the other way round. Complex designs, when I was a child, appealed a lot to me, but with growing aesthetical sensitivity, I prefer design simplicity, which is far more elegant.

Simplicity, elegance and integrity in design are not necessarily limited to aesthetics, but are also pertinent in many other areas of design such as structural, functional and spatial - one can achieve design beauty through simplified and elegant programming and organisation of spaces.

Each time, when I design, I get the first comment as follows. 'Your design is quite arbitrary.' Each semester, I have increasingly become less confident as a potential architect, whilst continuing to indulge in and cultivate my design skills and architectural sensibilities at the highest at home as a hobbyist/in free time. Even when my architectural design is acknowledged to be totally practicable and constructible, still the way professors comment still contradicts my inner sense of what I'm designing - they keep saying 'You're being slavish to some design principles without exercising your own imagination, autonomy and design honesty.' I was already design-honest and imaginative from the start, and still the professors are not getting at it.

Can anyone help explain if such issues are the case in architectural academia, and will not apply at workplace. Can anyone help me realise that at workplace, architects will have the freedom and responsibility to design in whichever ways that can be design-simple, integrated and elegant, and that they will not face the same sort of criticisms in the public the way they had in schools?


Jan 9, 14 4:22 am

You should go to Yale and attend Professor Peggy Deamer's Design and Visualization seminar entitled "Composition". One objective of this seminar is to encourage confidence in personal, formal proclivities. ^_^

FYI, architects can never survive merely as egoistic and narcissistic artists. Entrepreneurship, discipline, and sociality are all essential elements of a success career where "freedom" is critically redefined. Criticisms can only be harsher and more unexpected.

Jan 9, 14 7:46 am

You should post pictures of the projects you're talking about.  Both the good and the bad ones, so we can help support you in your belief that you know more than your professors,  or we might see that you just have bad taste.  It's really hard to tell if all we have to go off is you telling us you're smart.

Obviously you won't get to do whatever you want in the real world.  You'll have clients and bosses and codes that will influence the direction of your designs.  

Miles JaffeMiles Jaffe
Jan 9, 14 9:45 am

You have created 6 new threads and only made 2 posts. Time to get a life. Preferably somewhere else.

Once again I call for archinect to require 10 posts before a new member can start a topic.

Jan 9, 14 12:10 pm

Just an fyi, I'm framing your posts and hanging them in my office 

Jan 9, 14 4:12 pm

You have created 6 new threads and only made 2 posts. Time to get a life. Preferably somewhere else.

Once again I call for archinect to require 10 posts before a new member can start a topic.

And they all say the same thing. "I have been gifted since I was very young but none of my professors or anyone else seems to think so. Maybe I am just that much better than everyone else so they do not understand me."

Miles JaffeMiles Jaffe
Jan 9, 14 7:51 pm

Wabisabi, lots of people told me they put my letters to the editor on their refrigerators. You'd probably enjoy my book

Feb 4, 14 1:00 pm

Architecture is subjective. End of.

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