The Missing Words in Architecture | Vol.1 Issue 0 | 04/2017

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Colofon Contributors


Wachira Leangtanom M.Arch, Cornell University

Verasu Sae-Tae M.Sc in Architecture, TU Delft

Varis Niwatsakul MFA in Design (Human-Computer Interaction), Stanford University E:

Jirat Khumkomgool M.Arch, Pratt Institute

Swinya Chavanich M.Arch, Pratt Institute

Editorial Team Cover Made Of Two Kornkamon Kaewprasert Kanyaphorn Kaewprasert Organiser Veerasu Sae-Tae

Lao Reang Magazine The Missing Words in Architecture Vol.1 Issue 0, 1st April 2017 Š All rights reserved. 2



Wachira Leangtanom



Veerasu Sae-Tae

MVP (minimum viable product)


Varis Niwatsakul



Jirat Khumkomgool

State Swinya Chavanich


Editorial Lao-Reang (Storytelling) Online magazine Series I: The Missing Words in Architecture

Dear reader, Lao Reuang is an online collective storytelling magazine. We hope to be an open platform for sharing and discussing thoughts. It aims, to be honest, simple, fun and humble. Through the collective approach, the young authors are invited from different universities in the field of both architecture and design, to share their stories to the public. We as a young creative people have a lot of unsynthesized ideas in our mind that we sometimes just keep them among our professional discussion. Would it be wonderful to share those stories and learn from each other. We do not seek to create a mega architecture or design theory but we would like to show our reflections towards the world. And hopefully, these simple stories could inspire or encourage one’s method of thinking as a seed for ideas worth exploring. The success of this experiment would reflect from feedback from the public via social media and among the group members. The first series of the magazine is ‘The missing words in architecture’. We want to tell a story by choosing a simple word and expanding its hidden meaning in different dimension selected by each author. Words are such a powerful tool in describing phenomenology in architecture. In the sense that when you said luxurious loft condominium, people would have different mental pictures of a luxurious place. It could be a room made of marble and expensive furniture, or one could imagine a luxurious in a natural landscape.Therefore, these series of stories would elaborate on words that would fulfil the voids of complexity in architecture and the built environment. My special thanks go to all the writers who made this project possible and I am looking forward to how this project could evolve. Enjoy!, Editor


CUTE [adjective]: attractive in a pretty or endearing way. Wachira Leangtanom ‘Cute’ is not a common adjective that describes architecture, at least not in the most basic academic sense. The aesthetics of cute however, can be considered an emerging phenomenon in arts and design as we move towards a virtual mode of representation. Candy-colored axonometric, fanciful hatched sections, vibrant gradients, and tiny little diagrams are some of the few examples that some might find ‘cute’. Another example is the easily digested moving images (GIFS) which is a recent trend in our technologically driven world of architecture. Philosophy of Art refers to the 3 concepts of aesthetics: the beautiful, the picturesque and the sublime.(1) If one were to place the aesthetics of cute, it would be in between the sublime and the beautiful since it lies in between something comforting and pleasurable but also slightly fearsome. From this notion we can say that ‘cute’, as an aesthetics similar to the sublime, holds powers to deeply affect our emotion deeper than a physical level. It appears so easy to describe things as being cute and others would be able to share this understanding. Sublime also speaks of the beauty of an unknowable scale, while cute-ness also is readily emotional its precisely through its “security; its ability to serve as a vessel for us to project empathy into, as a sort of emotional container. Cute in the field of architecture appears in recent years through the emergence of flat drawings/illustrations, the most notable example is from MOS architects. The firm founded by Michael Meredith and Hilary Sample portray their works though site-less gradient background and the building floating as an object. The buildings occasionally suggest its material, in this example copper panels, but in other works they are mostly white. While remaining critical in their intentionally comical style, they question the relevance of a serious architectural drawing style that has been practiced from the past. The move towards ‘cute’ expressions could be perceived as a rejection of conventional representations, one that raises many criticisms. Firstly, there is an issue that these candy-coated drawings obscure practical choices of materials. While it can be argued that the work exists in a conceptual world, this lack of material provides a groundless understanding of the work. The traditional factors of site, climate, performance, and other practicality are not suggested through the cute drawings. However, this is also a hard process to judge critically because there are no existing criteria that addresses these emerging representational conditions.



Image: MOS Architects’ illustration of ‘House No. 11’.

Post-internet art refers to art works that are made in the context of technology, it consists works concerning the impact of the internet on art.(2) The term ‘Post-internet’ itself refers to other movements beginning with ‘Neo-‘, it is an attempt to define this weirdly prevalent attitude towards how the internet affects the contemporary culture on the subconscious level. Through this definition, we can draw a parallel between this movement to the colored drawings of MOS and other architects as a critique on the past precise representations of architecture. The works might seem as if they are not taking themselves too seriously, but every decision that is put into creating the works are all critical. For example, Seapunk works are aqua-marine themed, with slightly bad graphic from the early 1990s beginning of the internet era. The sub-culture evolved from being a meme to being starred in many pop culture music videos. Another






flatness, the term used back in 1960-70s that describes a certain smoothness in the surface texture that indicates how the work itself is timeless. The depth or perspectives that used to be depicted in paintings are replaced with minimal geometric shapes and linear forms, abstracted to the limit of becoming a diagram. Modern Art is the main identifier of ‘flatness’ with Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol and David Hockney as the main propagators of the movement. Their works undoubtedly influenced recent flat architectural renderings commonly found on Pinterest or Tumblr, even the human figures are cut-outs from Hockney’s paintings. Looking back to the architectural discipline, diagrams that architects use to deconstruct and summarize complex ideas to an easily digested visual graphic are sometimes described as ‘cute’. Their object-like aesthetics compose multiple similar building form explaining different conditions that happen within the space. 5

to explain the whole complex spatial qualities. The diagrams only reveal one aspect of the architecture, thus the need for plan, section and perspectives. It is however, an easy method to fall into justifying design decisions without actually justifying anything, as long as there are series of diagrams to explain the design. So, where are we heading? Would this ‘cute’ drawings be a fast dying trend as we move towards a total digitally constructed representation of Virtual Reality (VR)? Perhaps in the future, drawings might not even remain as one of the main communication means for architecture. Or maybe a total reversal might take place, similar to the current American politics that yearns for the ‘good old days’, we might see the return of hand drawings.

Image: unknown google images of vaporwave



Notes 1. “The Sublime.” The Sublime. Accessed February 28, 2017. engl203/overviews/sublime.htm. 2. “Post-Internet Art: You’ll Know It When You See It.” ELEPHANT. October 31, 2016. Accessed February 28, 2017.


GESTURE [noun]: an expression or a didactic quality in architecture, which gives an impression of spatial quality to the users, either symbolically or physically. Veerasu Sae-Tae

Architecture is a form of communication that often has been neglected in today’s discussion especially in Thai society. A design decision made by architects has determined a certain gesture and its didactical quality. This hidden meaning in architecture could derive from certain cultural and social trends which influenced the architect’s decision. For instance, towers of steel and glass condominium in the centre of Bangkok are economic driven which has expressed by its modular structure and minimised functions. Therefore, architecture always has been associated with gesture and meaning; one could analyse architecture and discover its hidden message or gesture. The design of the building expressed by its form, structure, material and ornamentation. Unfortunately, many of the architectural design has not express traditional social and cultural value, even in the religious design of a temple which should connote symbolic meanings. Nowadays, many of newly constructed Buddhist temples are made of concrete and steel-framed glass windows as a base which topping with traditional roof elements. This action of architectural decision is economical and functional driven. The development of an innovation in Thai religious architecture has been stalled. In this way, temples become purely an envelope of functions which abandons its role as a curator of spatial experience. The duty has left to statues of Gods and deities to convey and construct an imaginary spiritual landscape to the visitors and believers. Even though the absence of this gesture in religious architecture hardly affect the believers, architecture has much more capacity to enhance believers and visitors’ engagement in their spiritual practice. The case studies of a Thai Buddhist temple, Wat Phra Dhammakaya,’s architecture would be a perfect platform to open the discussion of this notion of gesture in Thai Buddhist architecture. As the design of Wat Phra Dhammakaya demonstrates a certain architecture aberration with its symbolic value and its massiveness in scale. Personally, despite the current racial politic situation of the temple, I admire Dhammakaya temple in the way they curate space for religious ceremonies. The organisation of space using visual symbolic quality in the layout of the plan in many ceremonies has rarely occurred in Thai Buddhist temples. This gesture has a direct impact on the visitors and believers as it allowed them to experience abstract qualities in Buddhism. 8


Image1: The cathedral or Vihara of Phra-Mong-Kol-Thep-Mu-Ni (Sodh Candasaro), 1996-2006, Ar-

However, to strengthen the religious experience in the temple neither require vast amount of space nor a lot of money, I believe this gesture could be achieved through a simpler and more subtle spatial design. To demonstrate, the cathedral or Vihara of Phra-mong-kol-thep-mu-ni (Image1) illustrates a potential role of architecture by articulating space to enhance the phenomenon for its religious rituals and performances. The vihara was built from 1996 to 2006 as a memorial monument for the fundamental Buddhist priest (Sodh Candasaro) who founded the meditation practice called Dhammakaya. The building has a diameter of 108 meters. The shape of mountain and dome of the building is not a new typology of Buddhist architecture at all, the design of the building has a reference from the great Sanchi Stupa from India since the 3rd Century. (1) On the primary level, the architecture language which was implemented in the building has suppressed the visitors with its enormous scale. The gesture surely emphasises the architecture for God; human becomes a secondary design requirement. The bigness undoubtedly grabs the attention of the first-time-visiting believers while occupying a significant amount of land, announcing its greatness.However, there is a confliction between the exterior and the interior of the building. The sphere used as a base geometry is intended only for the

exterior experience while the interior is covered with a plane ceiling. People could not fully experience the spatial quality of the sphere. Therefore, the dishonesty between the exterior and the interior has devalued the spatial quality which could be much more intriguing. Furthermore, the archetype of sphere and dome have been implemented in many Western classical references from the past. Human build to understand the universe, as the translation of Greek columns, Doric and Ionic to male and female, was an attempt to understand the God. In comparison to the Vihara of Phra-mong-kol-thep-mu-ni, even though the design of the Vihara has implemented the similar approach of representing the sun, the moon and the stars as the centre of the human realm, the expression could have been stronger. To elaborate on that argument, a cenotaph of Sir Isaac Newton, a conceptual design by Étienne-Louis BoullÊe, a French neoclassical architect in 1784 reveals a richer spatial experience and its didactical quality of the universe. The sphere is 150 metre in height. The interior of the building illustrates the cycle of day and night through the apertures; it forms a star constellation as well as the vast unless universe. The visitors would enter the space and appreciate the vastness and endless of space and stars. The spatial would ideally serve as a great monument celebrating the discovery 9

Image2: The interior of ihara of Phra-Mong-Kol-Thep-Mu-Ni.

of science and universe. Hence, this similar gesture could be implemented in Buddhist architecture to illustrate its ultimate goal of Nirvana, formless and emptiness. To sum up, although nowadays Buddhist architecture relies on the symbolic quality of objects, treating architecture as an object sitting in space. Buddhist symbolism is derived from Trailokya, the translation of three worlds, namely: the world of desire, the world of form and the world of formlessness. Although the Buddhist cosmology has significant impacts on Buddhist architecture, the integration of spatial quality and symbolic values would enhance the spiritual quality. The experience design in temple using symbolic and spatial quality in Thai Buddhist architecture would allow us to construct a more profound, poetic and prolific place. It is time for Buddhist architecture to reconsider the method of construction, types, symbolism, and most important spatial quality. In Buddhist belief, people meditate to gain truthful wisdom of our mind and control our defilements, which ultimately would lead to a state of Nirvana. In the society today, people are obsessed with contributing their money to construct more and more temples, greedy for merits. The ef10

fect of this national-wide culture results in the emergent of economic-driven temples, where Buddhist architecture has ignored their users and their spatial qualities. Furthermore, this type of architecture has no participation of enriching and enhance understanding the core of the Buddhist doctrine. What if architecture would narrate people through Buddhist teaching without any description from a monk? Imagine a temple that would be designed from the entrance, anticipate the different circulation routes of its visitors might take and design the threshold in such as a way that it could slow down the pace of walking that eventually, the visitors are already in a state of mindfulness by just entering the temple. Personally, gesture in Buddhist architecture shouldn’t only come from symbolic elements but should include the translation from Buddhist doctrine and teaching: to be enlightened, to be mindfulness, to feel empathy, etc. Through architecture, these abstract qualities can be translated into reality employing manipulation of space, light, texture etc. This spatial intervention could be very subtle as planting trees to curate certain experience or gesture.Can contemporary Buddhist architecture translate the sublime of Nirvana through space? Can it make people feel ecstatic?


Image3: Étienne-Louis Boullée (French architect), Cénotaphe à Newton (1784) (Top) The interior during the day with interior night effect. (Below) The section at night with the interior day effect.


1. %B8%94%E0%B8%9E%E0%B8%A3%E0%B8%B0%E0%B8%98%E0%B8%A3%E0%B8%A3%E0%B8%A1 %E0%B8%81%E0%B8%B2%E0%B8%A2.html#dhammakaya-temple-5 2. (p.119, Pimlott) Pimlott, M. (2016). The public interior as idea and project. Heijningen: Jap Sam Books.


MINIMUM VIABLE PRODUCT [noun]: In product development, the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is a product with just enough features to gather validated learning about the product and its continued development. Gathering insights from an MVP is often less expensive than developing a product with more features, which increase costs and risk if the product fails, for example, due to incorrect assumptions. Varis Niwatsakul

Image 1: power of ten produced in 1977 by the Eameses’ illustrates the relative size of things. Building is largely a symptom treatment for the larger problems. Yet as an architect, you always have the ulterior motive to recommend a building, because recommending a building is good for your business. We’ve been successfully able to eliminate the ulterior motive as architects. Reinier De Graaf interviewed by Arjen Oosterman and Nick Axel for Archis 2016 #2 Rarely as an architecture student or a rising architect does one ever see architectural interventions as a series of untested hypotheses. I believe hypothesis is one of the key fundamentals and driving forces behind every design since every design decision is fundamentally influenced by a set of assumptions formed by a designer based on statistical data or empirical field research and site observation followed by a process of synthesis of what one thinks might happen in the world with the act of deliberate decision making. One of the trickiest things about how hy12


Image 2: power of ten, a film produced in 1977 by the Eameses’. pothesis works in tandem with architecture discourse is that it requires one to build things quickly, keep things sketchy and do things cheaply (both time and effort) all for the sole purpose of speeding the process of learning regarding what aspects of the design works and does not work - it’s an iterative process with real users in the loop. The following are my personal thoughts synthesized through my experience getting exposed to the design culture here at Silicon Valley. We as students and some as practitioners of architecture are incredibly adept at articulating our visions and conveying design ideas to studio professors or project investors ( aka clients, aka ‘most-likely-not-theend-users’) using our well-trained arsenal of representation tools and skills, but it is not common to see the use of these visualization techniques as a proxy to hold the designs accountable for the measurable impact it will have on people who we are designing for (aka ‘most-likely-the-end-users’). Think about it, as an architect, when was the last time we talked to the people who will be living and working in our designs?

Was it yesterday, the day before that or last week? perhaps last month? It would come as no surprise if the answer to this does not fall into any of the time frames mentioned. More importantly, has it ever occurred to us to even think that it’s important to talk to a human being when designing architecture? What architects in the world would allow non-architecture-literate average citizen to chime in on our long-sweated-blood-andtear all nighters of work that we have been fighting for and guarding so dearly ever since its first conception in our sketch book womp. If we could solve this perfectionist syndrome that started in the culture of architecture schools then maybe we could see a greater pace of innovation in architecture discourse and perhaps we would witness a more mission-driven and accountable form of architecture practice and education. As a former architecture student, I learned a whole lot from this incredible discipline and the architecture education to this day I still consider as the most valuable form of an educational experience I have ever had. Architecture has given me a lot and have served as a springboard for me into many other fascinating realms of design, 13

Image 3: power of ten, a film produced in 1977 by the Eameses’. to architecture, I started to see patterns and the differences that the two disciplines have. Especially in this part of the world where design is being elevated upstream as a tool to create a long-lasting competitive advance for the fortune 500 companies and start-ups alike, design becomes more than an outcome, it is a process, a dogma that every company, big and small, are looking to harness its power to create new offerings to the world in the form of innovation. I’ve learned the value of the iterative process in innovation management. One concept amongst many that I found to be super foreign to me at first, but now serves as the mantra of my design thinking practice and innovation management is the idea of identifying an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) to build and test design assumptions that we make every day as a designer. As designers, no matter what sub-fields we fall into, we all make assumptions about what our design will do when it’s done and launched into the world. As architects, one might hope to improve community engagement with and access to the knowledge economy through building a library or one might hope to foster a sense of place and identity of a neighbor14

hood by designing an inclusive and safe public square. No matter what the brief might ask us to propose or what our “vision” for the project might be, embedded in this optimism are risky assumptions that as designers we must have a better way of testing if they are true; is building a library the most cost-effective and the right solution to improve community engagement with and access to knowledge economy? Does the community really need a public square? and do they even care about having a shared identity? or how many people share the same vision that a public square will generate a sense of place for the people in the community? These are all well-intended design visions, but if we can’t validate these assumptions through our design process, what good would spending a ton of time and effort into building something that would last over a decade such as buildings do to people and society? let alone the environment. This is where the idea of building a MVP comes in. Building a MVP starts with an awareness of what kinds of assumption do our design solutions assume. Most often, designers make assumptions about problems that they are trying to solve with


their designs - this is called a problem assumption. The first thing to do here is to build a quick, cheap and sketchy way to test if you are even solving the right problem that people have. By sketchy I mean something that is quick to do and that we wouldn’t feel uncomfortable discarding them if they didn’t work out. For example, do people in the neighborhood you are designing this piece of architecture for really have problems concerning having identity issue or are there any other pressing issues that your design could address? Another kind of assumption is called a solution assumption and here is what most architects fall into this trap the most because we assume that the only solution there is is to design and build buildings. It turns out buildings are sometimes the solution to these problems, but often times buildings themselves are rarely just a small piece of the of the overall puzzle we think we are solving. To limit ourselves only to one design solution - a building - is to limit our power as a designer. Using design as a way to test untested hypotheses about what our designs would do in the world is a very methodical and scientific way of doing design, which I think as architects,

we are all well-trained to think this way. The only barrier to adopt this iterative design process would be the fidelity that we as an architect usually operates and the problem frame that we are all too often given a pre-assumed design brief that asks us to propose a very specific solution to a systematic problem that we have not yet been afforded an opportunity to explore other ways to get at solving this problem. Exacerbate this issue, we usually are obsessed with high fidelity drawings, models and visualisations, myself included, which often times paralyses us to be attached to these artefacts because we spent way too much time working on these crazy insane fidelity deliberables when we are still at the stage of discovering if the brief we received and the problem it asks us to solve is actually the right problem. Let alone the frame in which our solutions have to fall into - which most of the times are limited to just a physical building. One might argue that of course because it’s an architecture project why are we even be bothered to think of any other solutions rather than buildings. You are

Image 4: power of ten, a film produced in 1977 by the Eameses’. 15

probably right, but if we restrict ourselves to thinking this way, then when can we truly unlock the true potential of architecture as a knowledge production medium? I believe that if more architects can embrace the design methodologies of the lean-start ups model that value testing design assumptions quickly and cheaply to zero in on actual problems that people care about as quickly as possible and designing a range of possible solutions that go beyond the limit of a building to systems of interconnected internet of things then we would be able to secure the future of the profession for many distruptive technological innovations to come. Did I mention VR AR is the new hot thing?



Image 5: power of ten, a film produced in 1977 by the Eameses’.


PARALLEL DIMENSION [noun]: The simultaneious performance of operation in an aspect of situation or series of expression for a derived physical quantity. Jirat Khumkomgool

How many sense do we use to perceive an architectural quality? We only use our eyes to read an architecture without any cooperation of any other four senses of perception. Mans were born with five sense of perception: taste, sight, touch, smell, and hearing, which helps us to recognise changes in a physical phenomenon with consciousness and thought. Considering everyone as a receptor and designer as an effector, there are several ways to trick with this anatomical reaction in orders to introduce a new sequence of perceptions. In a gastronomic field, food designer (chef) sometimes tricks with customers’ perception of food by offering a new experience with a twist between visual perception and gustation. By incorporating more than one sense of recognising changes of matters, designers can manipulate the sequence of perception. When visionary is the only sense that helps us to disambiguate the spatial quality, it is inevitable that there might be some missing quality of space that should be enhanced to delivered designer’s aspects. Nowadays people narrow down their world of visionary into the size of the screen and neglect to appreciate the physical changes in many circumstances. How can us, as an architect communicate our empirical spatial exploration to others with a deliberate selection of sense and eventually deliver the message to the visitors? When screens are no longer virtual world and gradually transformed into reality by advanced technology, architects might have to reconsider the boundary of their site. A site is no longer a physical boundary in a conventional view of three-dimensional forms, but rather both physical and digital demarcation. And augmented visionary into the screen is eventually considered as an alternative way to embrace the existence of the spatial quality. When their visions are distracted by their digital world, the somatosensation (touch) or audition could get some attentions to balance with a distracted sense.



(1) Pokemon Go: Augmented visualization that allow the users to investiage their urban contexts in both physical and digital terriotory.

However, augmented reality is only a manipulation of one sense of recognition, but it also enhances users’ perceptions which might need more than a single change in their sense of realisation. Investigating Pokemon GO from an another point of view, it becomes a tool that let us explore our city in an alternative way. The screen becomes a new boundary of our visionary while the gym and Pokemon hunting gradually generate an unintentional detour for the users (1). The application is no longer considered only for an entertainment device, but it also revitalises the abandoned urban spot within the city as well. The ancient city, the abandoned tourist attraction in Bangkok becomes more popular after they have plenty of gyms and rare items within the area while the spirit house becomes more

prominent for every pedestrian who are looking for a recharge. Augmented perception finally immense several dimensions of recognition with harmony and completed architectural quality. An introduction of other senses in architecture is an another way to design users’ experience. Museum of Everything in New York is a great example of how the designer incorporates different ways of perceiving the space (2). Since the designer considered smell as the strongest sense tied to memory, visitors’ experiences are no longer limited to conventional perception of three-dimensional spatial form, but visitors also meander through a parallel dimension of an intangible designed sequence which indulges them with an another sense to recognise changes in a physical phenomenon. 19

Considering the parallel dimension as an alternative tool which enhances the users’ experiences via human’s sense of recognition, this integrated perception becomes an essential way to deliver designers’ messages. Beyond an unexpected architectural phenomenon, an augmented visualisation embraces the quality of space with a relationship with time. Architecture is no longer impresses the visitors’ for only a few minutes, but an immersive experience of space will be embedded with human memories through five sense of human perception that no longer recognise an architectural space from one medium but via multiple recognisable organisms. Eventually, there is a disruptive way of perceiving space that no longer read space as a singular image but it rather is a constellation of architectural perception from the way that we perceive a spatial quality from parts into the whole.



(2) Museum of everything, New York: Immersive exhibition that use smell as a medium to attach with visitors’ memories.


1. Image 1: 2. Image 2:


STATE [noun]: the particular condition that someone or something is in at a specific time. Sawinya Chavanich

Image: Andre Morin via Palais de Tokyo

Impermanence state of things becomes a common discourse in manysubjects such as philosophy, art and science. Philosophers, artists and scientists dedicate their time study about the changing in states in various aspects. The study of this topic seems to be endless. As everything exists to change and alteration, we as a human being spend more than half of our life time trying to seek, define and capture the meaning of all these changes. Many people believe and anticipate that by understanding and predict, we can make this place greater. On the other hand, we probably forget something along the way. In Buddhist and Zen philosophy, the impermanence is the main concept. “Do not dwell in the past, do not dwell in the future, concentrate the mind on this present state.“ This sentence is not only suggested us to focus on the current state but also suggested us to deal with the change in the meantime.



In architecture, the word ‘plasticity’ has been used to describe the rich or sculptural form instead of the ability to change over times. In contrast the word plasticity itself refers to “the adaptability of an organism to changes in its environment of differences between its various habitats.“ Therefore, we as an architect are most likely to forget about it. As time goes by, we all are moving toward the future. Inflatable, compostable or sci-fi architecture become one of the most controversial topics and likely to become a theme of the design competition in this century. We all are craving for the perfection and long-lasting architecture while on the back of our head, we all realized that there is no such a thing that permanent. As far as we try to envision and solve the problem of the future, we seem to move further away from the solution. How many architects talk about the state alteration in their architecture proposal? or the ability to adapt accoring to time. The answer is just a few especially in architecture school where perfect renderings, advance technology and materials are preferable. Architect are likely to generate and present their proposal in only one particular state and time. Although architects discuss a lot about the idea of phenomenology, we are rarely talk about the decay in material or spatial quality of state transformation in long term. In contrast, the concept of state and decay has been debatable and vibrant in the world of contemporary art. The art installation by Henrique Oliveira in Palais De Tokyo in 2013 is one of the examples. Oliveira explained that this installation connected architecture of the museum into a natural-looking structure. “There’s strong symbolism, representing how human thinking tried to understand the way life develops, yet existence always turns out to be impossible to comprehend by rational thought.” This art installation was not talking directly about the state

transformation but it juxtaposed the perfection of man-made and the improvisation of nature. It reminds me to the perfection and freezing state of architecture these days which often designed to serve only one function in one specific condition. It is true that we see a lot of adjustable elements such as facade that helps architecture itself surviving through diferent weather conditions. However, we rarely see the design that has been thought to support the decay or the change in state of material. We normally deal with this sittuation by fixing or leaving it as it is. Paige Smith, LA based artists responded to this situation in a more engaging way. She revitalized the decay of urban space by using geodes to emphasize the reshaping state of the materials. The idea behind using geodes is to depict the tension and growing divide between environment and industry.



This concept spread out over the world especially in Japan where the idea of impermanence becomes a part of their culture. ‘Mono no aware’ or ‘the pathos of things’ is a Japanese idiom meaning the gentle wistfulness at the transience of things, and the awareness of the sadness of existence. Nobuhiro Nakanichi, an Osaka based artist illustrate this concept through his laser prints layering images. As the viewer walks passed, he or she will experience the changing of times within the particular space. In this case, Nubuhiro uses the photography as a medium to tell the story of state and time. It is interesting in the way that normally photograph always percieved as freezing moment. However, this installation redefine the role of photography by presenting the moment in the way as it changed.

Image :


However, when it comes to architecture, we normally see architect reacts to this modification in only certain state,at least from where I live, in New York. We see a lot of renovation project that transformed the old warehouse into industrial-like office space,. Although it is a good attempt to preserve and utilize the existing resource, still, it could be more effective and more sustain if we could designed something that can react too all these changes in more meaningful and more respectful way. In the other words, we normally introduced the new layer into architecture by not aware thi it since the beginning. As we are moving toward the future and try to find the solution for what we called ‘ideal architcture’ , we might forgot something along the way. Personally, I feel that we rely too much on the future. We move too fast toward something we are not so sure about It would be a good idea to stop and realize what we are missing out. ‘Architecture for the future’ might be something closer and more familiar than we ever thought. Perhaps, the problem is not about the advancement in technology or the ability to change in form but the lacking of awareness in the state alternation. In conclusion, we did not allow our design to grow and decay in a meaningful way. It would be nice to bring this topic out to generate more discourse and participation in this aspect.




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