Saturday, 5 July 2008

DATUM 2008

A brief reflection...

1) The overriding design preoccupation seemed to be an inclination towards a blurring of the distinction between the traditional components of the architectonic. Okok....dun have to talk like one of them, i know. I mean, a way of thinking of the building enclosure as one unified element. Fusing floor wall roof into a single seamless thing...

2) A clear divorce from the Modern Movement (with its functionalist basis), and a preferrence for Romantic Genius--the imaginative, the personal, the emotionally-spiritually uplifting, the experimental...

3) The respect for materiality remains...

4) Cross overs to other disciplines are embraced---welcome Mathematics! welcome advertising!

5) The balance between the indispensable use of computer aided design by some... and the love of hand sketching by others, makes me chuckle (what a wonderful profession we're in!)

6) Keeping your ear to the ground tends to win out in the, i mean being sensitive to what people generally like and want is usually the best way to go (think roller coaster, think video, think computer games, think vanity, think egalitarian, think accessibility..)

(I thoroughly enjoyed it.) Now let me hear your comments...


BADesign said...

datum 2008: distinction.. hmmm... the speakers are like the benchmarks and role models for our generation.. in my opinion these speakers are like the transitional elements going through evolution from post mod to the next XXXX period. so our generation, the younger generation, the architecture students now, the architects of the future will be the fruits of this evolution.

these speakers are opening up the windows again or more or less a reminder to sustainability, back to nature (contour, views, vistas), back to basics (geometry, maths) and etc.

i think these speakers are also distorting or changing the typology of buildings. a house doesnt need to look like a house anymore, an office doesnt look like one anymore too. spaces are starting to merge together to form this single body that has everything in it, living, work, social, entertainment and nature.

the city is getting boring with similar towers, apartment blocks and buildings that look at each other, facing each other. what i notice is that these architects are stepping away from that. their designs allow views of interesting angles, panaromas, framing of horizons and the continuous vistas of the surrounding context. covering and hiding the ugly from view, framing and celebrating the beautiful. allowing everybody to have a beautiful view from their homes or office, not just to the privellaged few that are able to pay more for the view. especially hailim suh's 10 houses near the hills in taiwan. her concept allows the house to adapt to the different sizes of the site, orientation and surrounding but yet frame the view of the mountain.

so like i said. i think there is no typology anymore for a house or office or church or petrol station or wateva. building designs are getting more intelligent in the sense that it can be switched to accomodate the function and not just dead fixed for one programme. buildings should follow and adapt to our needs and not us adapting to buildings.

Jon da Penang said...

wat he said....

BADesign said...

oh, another thing i would like to share is about using sun shading screens.

Hailim suh liked to use sun shading screen for her glass buildings. is it good or bad ?

i got a piece of advice from Kevin Mark Low of Small Projects when he crit me for my studio 2 project, the bicycle station. my bike storage area was all glass with part of the curtain wall facing west. so of course it'll be pretty darn hot. so i had sun shading louvres outside the glass.

he said to me, u already know that it will be a problem by using all glass facing west, and you put sun shading devices to solve that problem. Kevin described it as "cutting yourself with a knife and putting a plaster on it".

What he meant was, if i knew that there will be a problem with glass and sunshine and heat, then why did i still use glass ?

what he suggests is that i could've eliminated the problem by using different materials, orientation, openings and etc instead of creating the problem and solving it later. Kevin does have a point there, but it depends on individuals.

so.. hailim suh's sun shading for her glass wall.. good or bad??

ian ng said...
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ian ng said...
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ian ng said...

very good observations, ben.

..and about ur sunshades: kevin's right, basically. but nothing is so dead fixed it can't evolve, not even the "bad". "Bad" can become "good". It's all about justification and ingenuity. Contradictions can become the complexity of "rich" design. Ur west view might have been the only view worth having. Too bad it had the western sun. U just had to make it into good, and u chose screens and shades. That's one solution. Kevin was probably asking u to explore other solutions that solved more problems. Just as Bjarke proposed the inverted pyramid to "solve" the sun-heat problem in Dubai...and stuff like that...which, as u know, talented and sensitive designers will never run short of.

i guess the answer is to go behind the obvious and rethink traditional solutions.

And Jon's comment is sooooooo deeep..i must meditate on it.

Other guys?

Jon da Penang said...

After a few days of reflecting and digesting and trying hard to remember what the speakers said while i was playing my Nintendo DS and sleeping throughout the thing.. i finally realized that each of them are truelly what the theme of datum 2008 says they are.. Distinct and unique..

Just to give an example, lets BIG architects and compare it with Kengo Kuma.. both of them have the idea of creating better architecture but through very personal, very different approaches.

For the jap guy, he is very contextual and environmentally sensitive whereas BIG is totally the opposite. Not that he is not environmentally sensitive but his approaches deals more with design and lesser on the environment and he creates iconic things that shouts out to the world, catching your attention.

i think this time around, datum open my eyes to a world in architecture...and that is, theres no wrong in architecture, as long as u u have the heart for it, and believe in wat u have, wat u created, it will be great. i guess this is more of a hitting me in the head situation that archi is "us" than rather realizing an ideology or theory in archi...hehe...and now i realized another thing...that im so slow in getting stuff...looks like im lightyears behind the ppl in sem 1...sighness...

ian ng said...

my dear Jon....on the contrary...u have taken a giant leap in architectural consciousness

the stuff that hit u deep inside, yea , it's more than head knowledge. it's the kinda heart conviction that will keep you going. Keep u going in the right direction with increased confidence. Am i right?

it's not the sort of thing u can read in a theory book. it's the kinda education that dawns on you because you dig urself in and keep doing it, keep asking why, why like that, why this and not that. Know what i mean? And one day it just hits you.

and that sorta strike will never have the same effect on a Sem 1 bloke, cos he's not gone through the why why why yet.

And know what? the next time you're struck again, it'll get deeper.

like continuing education, maturing conviction? the way Kengo comes across as more mature than Jon? And maybe more mature than Bjarke?

Neways..if it's any consolation, my own education was no different than yours. in fact it was "worse". it had a 'V' profile. i started out thinking i knew everything, and towards the end of my college days knew that i knew next to nothing. Scary, very scary! Fortunately i met Edward Cullinan in my last year . He said 2 words to me. And I started my architectural career with just those 2 words, nothing else. And those words set me on the upward side of the V, and i have survived and thrived all these years on them. I guess that's why i always say, 'keep going'. I think i've said that to you before. If not, then, Jon, "Keep going!" Haha

And btw what Edward said to me was NOT 'keep going'. Haha

And it was not 'Haha'. Haha

MY said...

ian, then what's the 2 words???


ian ng said...

that's kinda haha...has a story to itself, and not related to Datum..haha
and a bit difficult to of those things that make u crack up.
so i'll have to wait for a more appropriate time to tell u guys. when i've plucked up enough courage..Haha
Glad you're paying attention, though..haha.

BADesign said...

MY, your 2 cents worth leh ???


ian ng said...

haha...we may have to run another competition: What did Edward Cullinan say to Ian?
but no prizes la...broke d..haha

MY said...

i know.
he said

"jia you"

ian ng said...

4 Dots strikes again..haha
no, sorry, not jia you la---he's English..haha. But i know what u mean.
No, jia you's probably the RESULT of what he said to me, not what he actually said.
remember huh, good architecture huh is the sort that has a lot of content beneath the surface; the sort that has many layers.