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So what is Good Design?

Updated: Dec 5, 2018

The question that I am always asking myself, what is good design and in particular, what is good architectural design?

Over the next few BLOGs I will try to give my own thoughts on the matter. My own beliefs and the clear process I go through when creating a new project, however there are no guarantees that this explanation it won’t come with a side of blurry cynical commentary.



So what is good architectural design?

Is it the design images and promotions we see advertised all around telling us what we really want?

Unfortunately no.

All of those are now just images, all dressed and staged, and photographed, then re-photographed and then filtered through Photoshop, to within an inch of its life.

Once completed, the images are also colour corrected and air brushed to hide the flaws. Then packaged and presented in freshly printed glossy offerings (or matt finish if they’re really trying) to eager and hungry audiences, generally in a homogenised and more palatable form than the real life offering.

One of my favourite quotations was from Frank Lloyd Wright who proclaimed about architectural mistakes “Unlike Doctors, who can bury their mistakes, all Architects can do is suggest their clients plant vines”

Obviously Photoshop was not part of this Architects toolbox at that time!

Much like a fashion model spread or thoroughbred sports car brochure, there are no moles, orange peel, acne or stone chips. The perfect architectural image presented is often an idyllic illusion, so much better than the actual architecture to begin with, and sometimes hardly recognisable as a space humans could even live in, due to the realization that their actual existence within the presented space, would be interrupting the visual harmony of the “Zen” like composition.

Like any hyped and emotive promotional offering whether fashion or sports cars, this type of architecture is just……………… product.

So what’s the answer? How do we know what good design is?

OK let’s break it down to two distinct categories, there are the fundamentals and then the desires.

The trick is being wise enough to understand the difference, and failure to do so gives New Zealand the majority of the building stock we currently have.

Firstly there are the basic requirements of any building or your home.

The fundamentals of any good design that all good design and particularly good architectural design, must address?………………….. The reason for being created in the first place!

In architecture these fundamentals are simple, they are to provide shelter from the weather and wind. Warmth and exposure to the sun in the winter, shade and protection from the same sun in the summer. Clean fresh air and water for the occupants to use. Security from the outside world to protect our families. Good light, good hygienic finishes and a healthy environment in which to live and enhance our lives, pretty basic and simple stuff eh?

So do you think we are achieving this now in New Zealand?

Let me tell you next time, same bat channel, same bat time…….

Art for living…………G

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