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Is all “new” architecture today stolen?

nRyArch

Is architecture just stealing from other artists? Is there any “new” architecture? When I was in architecture school they always had us do extensive research on each project to ensure you were creating something unique. I have now seen this design by no less than three international firms. This was a design I worked on with other architects in 2008 and first Autodesk tricked us into signing an NDA allowing them to use the design for marketing. Then I saw it used by Autodesk and a well known firm for a technology exhibit in Dubai years ago. Then another firm was shortlisted for a competition in China last year with almost an identical design. Now I saw it today by BIG who designed one of the new World Trade Center towers in NYC. Does this mean that the architecture profession is a bunch of thieves? Is every single design stolen and already been done? Maybe this should tell me that I should still peruse architecture. I worked for some prominent architects and saw others steal their designs very blantently, and those mentors told me it is not worth it to go after them. That doing so will consume all of one’s time and energy. Once upon a time I wanted nothing more than to be a famous architect and design skyscrapers. I spent many years entering design competitions and was told my designs were too futuristic or could not be built. I eventually migrated to software development but seeing one of those designs I worked on being marketed by one of the most famous firms in the world makes me wonder if I should pursue that dream I had since I was old enough to draw. I’m not saying the similarities here are intentional theft but more likely just coincidental. At the same time I shared my drawings freely and widely for years. After all the saying goes, “Good artists borrow, great artists steal.” 

The first images are of BIG’s new project, next ones are a shortlisted proposal from a competition in China last year. The following images are drawings and notes from the design my team submitted to the 2008 Evolo Skyscraper competition.

 
Sep 11, 21 12:45 am
natematt

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...

Sep 11, 21 1:56 am  · 
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natematt

In seriousness though, basically everything is derivitive, how well it's done on the other hand ...

Sep 11, 21 1:58 am  · 
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JawkneeMusic

sage

Sep 11, 21 1:58 am  · 
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midlander

there is a certain kind of person who thinks an idea is an ownable thing and will wreck their career trying to prove they have perpetual right of possession to something just because they thought of it before some other person; while all the normal people just politely humor them and pretend to care. and in person i might do the same - but i and we don't actually care.


we all have ideas, we all see things done that we once thought of and wish we had done ourselves. i thought of self-driving cars and paying for things with a handheld phone. in 7th grade i wrote an essay describing an idea for a digital payment system with an international currency. i even told some people i thought the war in afghanistan was stupid and America should just leave. but somehow no one acknowledges i thought of these things first nor gives me any meaningful credit for them.


the thing is that ideas are just ephemeral things in your head. legally speaking, no one owns them. but thats also common sense. the words i am using as well as many things i say and truly believe, have already been thought by someone else. i can design a black glass box and admit it's inspired by mies, but i haven't stolen anything.


if you have an idea and express it, that specific expression can be copyrighted. if you have an idea for an invention and a specific design for implementing it, that can be patented. but for ideas, nothing. ideas are free, and surprisingly easy to have.


no one copied your building design. there is so much more to architecture than the shape of a form, and frankly none of the examples you show are at all identical. they share a common theme. that's ok. jackson pollock didn't own the idea of colorful paint splotches, and you don't own the idea of hyperbolic tubes.

Sep 11, 21 3:10 am  · 
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midlander

btw i love the way you suggest imitation is a flaw unique to contemporary architecture, as if 2500 years of copying greek temples and roman monuments was a more authentic kind of derivation.

Sep 11, 21 3:11 am  · 
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Wood Guy

I like to point out that Greek temples' details mimicked what would have been made out of wood originally. So today, "classical" architecture is made of plastic, imitating wood (colonial revival) imitating stone (Romans) imitating stone (Greeks) imitating wood.

Sep 11, 21 10:23 am  · 
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natematt

100% Midlander. Even the more interesting things that happened though the years became styles that were just as derivative.

Sep 12, 21 3:04 am  · 
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nRyArch

You lost the meaning of my post. It was not about specific details like columns or windows but more about overarching concepts. There was an example years ago when a well known architect blatantly stole the design of a student he was mentoring. It was
a skyscraper design but I don’t think it was about copying windows since details such as windows are common off the shelf products. It was about the theft of an overall design.

Sep 12, 21 8:18 am  · 
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JawkneeMusic

I think I know what you're talking about; did the architect have someone break into my room?

Sep 12, 21 9:54 am  · 
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z1111

Finding one's own voice is the natural result of a rigerous exploration of a direction with integrity and insight. If you want to waste your time doing derivative work knock yourself out.

Sep 11, 21 7:01 am  · 
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natematt

I can't tell if this is in support or attack to the OP. I would argue that the 3 examples (regardless of their actual originality) are doing very different things with similar forms, that do not prevent them from having integrity and insight. Derivation/parallel evolution of design does not preclude these things.

Sep 12, 21 3:10 am  · 
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z1111

It was meant as an answer to the title of the thread.

Sep 12, 21 7:16 am  · 
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randomised

if a design got “stolen” by BIG it couldn’t have been very original to begin with

Sep 11, 21 10:54 am  · 
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The first problem is equating architecture with art, which leads to assuming that architects are artists - which they are not.

The second problem is imagining that 'unique' is in itself a worthy value.   "Because it hasn't been done" is as worthless a measure of (value, quality, integrity, responsibility, etc.) as "because I can".

Condolences on your education.


Sep 11, 21 12:27 pm  · 
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nRyArch

How are architects not artists?

Sep 12, 21 8:12 am  · 
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nRyArch

How are architects not artists?

Sep 12, 21 8:12 am  · 
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Architecture is design. Design is a craft. https://archinect.com/forum/thread/78789129/art-vs-architecture

Sep 12, 21 9:54 am  · 
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reallynotmyname

I.M. Pei did this in the 1950's:

https://www.6sqft.com/this-80-...

Also, Canton Tower started construction in 2005.


Sep 11, 21 4:34 pm  · 
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nRyArch

if you read my OP you will see that I said “I’m not saying the similarities here are intentional theft but more likely just coincidental.“ 


The tower is not the only similarity but if you read the notes it explains an interconnected city of elevated parks. 


Also this is just one example but I spent over a year working with dozens of architects during the beginning of the recession. We entered several competitions and saw one of my sketches entered by a former team mate who was selected as a winner. I also saw a project I worked on for Peter Chermayeff copied by another famous architect. Peter told me that it was likely just a coincidence but I spent years using that project as a real time rendering technology demo and felt that I put the unbuilt design out there a lot. I agree that all architecture is imitation of other work because pretty much everything had already been done in one form or another. That was the whole point of my post as a rhetorical which I think most of you mistook for more of a question. 



Sep 12, 21 8:01 am  · 
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The title of the thread is a question, and the first two sentences of your post are questions.

Sep 12, 21 9:56 am  · 
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midlander

ok, thanks for clarifying. i did think the tone of your original post was more directed towards complaining about imitators. i don't think in your specific case that this is even imitation though, it's just multiple people having the same idea independently now that software makes such forms easy to design.

Sep 12, 21 6:53 pm  · 
1  · 
44arches
tduds

https://www.everythingisaremix...

Sep 12, 21 10:58 am  · 
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