Throughout own work, the adaptability of design is

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Throughout the design process, the
thought of originality springs up while conceptualising various processes of
said design process. At one point through researching and the possibility of
coming across similar ideas and designs, one may ponder whether if any new art
or design work is ever truly original or are they just mere extensions or
rehashes of pre-existing concepts. Throughout this piece I will be analysing
both sides to this argument and tailoring this towards Architecture. In my
research, I had found that the products I have seen and owned were made with
the sole purpose of ease of utility. For instance, the Bryhair hair dryer is
made in such a way to allow the unit to fold, this allows the unit to utilise
the wasted space between the handle and the nozzle to be packed away in luggage
for travel purposes.               (fig. 1 Left, fig. 2 – Right)

Another great example is the Kada
Stool by Yves Behar.

The basis for this was to work within
the constraints of modern day society of apartments and flats. This stool is
designed to be collapsed to fit tight spaces around a living space.

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These products have been created
through adaptability of a situation to outperform the original product by
giving the concept a unique point to which they tailor the design to.

In comparison to my own work, the adaptability
of design is what I would like to develop in the 3D pathway mainly because of
the problem-solving aspect of adaptability which would help me design for
different factors which may include the climate, the environment or even
something that is tailored to the people, a design which has an impact on what
it is designed for.


A great example for this if Richard
Norman Shaw, also known as Norman Shaw.

Shaw was the person behind red brick,
tall chimney houses and is responsible for creating Grim’s Dyke for Frederick

In the process of designing and
making houses, Shaw made houses that people would want to live in with polished
wood floors and lattice windows. Despite this, Shaw’s houses were only an
option for people that could afford them. This in turn gave way for inspiration
of the style of houses that were erected during that period. Although Shaw had
a unique spin on Grim’s Dyke (1890), one may argue that there may have been
similar styles of houses during the Victorian Era, on the other hand, one may
argue that the style and combination of different property development factors
were Shaw’s signature, an original design concept of a pre-existing product, in
this case, houses.


(fig.3 Grim’s Dyke Left, fig 4 Letchworth Garden City Right)

Another fantastic example is Ebenezer
Howard. In 1903 Howard founded the first Garden
City in Britain and in the world. The planning for this Garden City located in Letchworth, A
town in Hertfordshire, England. The planning for the Garden City was “Howard’s
response to the improvement of urban life which had decreased heavily after the
industrial revolution” with various areas being heavily polluted.

By 1920, Ebenezer Howard’s vision of
the development of the Garden City was
further pushed further with the completion of the second Garden City in Welwyn which is also located in Hertfordshire,

As a concept for
the improvement of the improvement of urban living, the idea would be regarded
as original as it was the first of its kind, something that had never been seen
before. Following this, Howard’s Garden
Cities were not only the first of their kind, they also were the cause of
the inspiration of the Greenbelt Cities, located in the United States.
Succeeding this milestone, the National Committee on Urban Growth Policy had
advocated to build 110 New Towns to
accommodate 20 million people in 1969.

This further
shows the impact of what Ebenezer had envisioned with his belief of improving
the living conditions of people living in the urban environment and bringing
people together over multiple Garden
Cities where the “little man has
finally won out”, which looks to be extremely important with the recreation
of similar styles of design showing up in the Greenbelt Cities in the United States.

As far as
modernism has come, it is still a common theme among most new build houses
which aren’t constrained to one inspirational source, instead they are more so
experiments with various materials which include steel and glass.

(fig. 5)

As more
materials are experimented with, the house moves on from the formality and lack
of variety of Modernism and moves into Post Modernism.

The Schnabel
Residence (Brentwood, California 1986-89)
was once such piece where the architect was driven to break the bounds and
constraints of normality and bring new life to the suburban area.

Frank Gehry was
the architect of this building and several others such as the Walt Disney
Concert Hall located in Los Angeles, California and the Guggenheim Museum
located in Bilbao, Spain.



(fig. 6)

When the design
process started for this project, the main goal was to “break the monotony of the middle-class landscape.” Which is the
reason to why Gehry had split the residence up into 9 different sections to
give the residence the feeling of being “open”

In looking at
Gehry’s designs, it is apparent that he went with what felt right to him to
keep the design of the residence more open and free.

Rough sketch of the Schnabel Residence by

In this floor
plan (fig. 7), the layout of the
residence is much more spread out allowing for the utilisation of the
constraint of space and allowing the design to be made in just a way that there
are more open spaces surrounding the units allowing the landscaping to work
well with the development.

This is like the
Garden Cities of Ebenezer Howard in
the sense that it is a residential unit that is surrounded by “green” areas
which is the landscaping in this situation, however it is at a much smaller
scale so one may argue that Gehry may have drawn inspiration off the Greenbelt Cities in the United States
which was originally based from Howard’s designs of the Garden Cities in England. On the other hand, looking at Gehry’s
work, it seems that Gehry has his own twist on the way he makes the designs of
the buildings. It seems Gehry would shape out the design in 3D with boxes, and
then further refine his designs. Gehry’s thought process may not be considered
original, his methodology to create the “dancing” style of buildings in his
practice made him one of the most well-known architects.

Through this
piece I highlighted my view, discussing both sides of an argument of whether
any art or design work every truly original. Through my images, I have shown
that the basis of a product or a design may be a replica, for instance with
residential housing, one may argue that the designs of the dwellings may be
simple and standardised to focus on a specific market. However, looking at
Ebenezer Howard, I believe that just looking at the physical properties of a
typical house is a mistake because as Howard demonstrated with his Garden Cities, the surrounding area is
just as important when designing. The design of the Garden Cities was cleverly thought through as it considered various
factors, the wellbeing of people being the main cause for change, to help
change the lives of the people who are affected by the dangerous effects of

With regards to
my own practice I believe this is the way forward.

In an interview
with Tatiana Bilbao, an architect from Mexico, with Vladimir Belogolovsky
(09:30 – 12 January 2018) she
says that “Architecture should benefit
every single human being on this planet”. This is the sort of principles
that I would wish to follow in my practice as I see Architecture as more than
just drafting plans for buildings, I see Architecture as the epitome of design
principle, I see it as an opportunity to help change the world for the better.
I strongly agree with Howard’s and Bilbao’s perspective on their practice to
put the people first and tailor my practice to not just create structures but
create a better future for those that are disadvantaged, fighting for the “little man” and creating pillars of
inspiration to carry this style of work forward, working together to help one
another to achieve the goal of a better life for everyone.     


Categories: Architects


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