Fighting for Art

If I may choose a phrase to describe why the Design Thesis exists, it is to “Fight for Art”.

We have heard before : Architecture is both Science and Art.

Well, what does that mean? Apparently, you have to use or work or live in architecture. There are users involved. The Science of Building –  making it buildable, livable, usable, safe etc is part of Science. So, science have a big say in it.

But then who’s big idea is it to say its also Art. Why does Architecture need to be beautiful?

If we want to approach the argument via Vitruvius’s often quoted phrase of: Utilitas, Firmitas, Venustas (Commodity, Strength, Beauty), we can, of course. But not today.

Today, I am approaching it with Jeannette Winterson in mind, referring to her book – Art Objects: Essays on Ecstasy and Effrontery (1995) where she says:

Art does not imitate life. Art anticipates life.

Surely as a designer, we need to appreciate and understand Art. We can learn from other disciplines – writers, artist, designers of fashion and products, etc.

Another quote from Winterson (1995):

We seemed to have returned to a place where play, pose and experiment are unwelcome and where the idea of art is debased. At the same time, there are a growing number of people (possibly even a representative number of people), who want to find something genuine in the literature of their own time and who are unconvinced by the glories of reproduction furniture.

In Winterson’s quotes, I want to find the grounds of argument for Art in Architecture. At first, when I talked about Aesthetics, it is more to do with the skin or surface, ornamentation or proportions in form and so on. In traditional arts, my post-graduate students had reviewed that Aesthetics and Function go together. Ancient people do not view beauty as separate from utility, and strength is expected. To build to last. That is why we just could not ignore historical buildings of the old.

What is Art?

Why must Art imitate Life? (Reproduction furniture…)

Why must Art anticipate Life? (Originality…)

In Architecture, we have got to anticipate Life. Aesthetics and Function are one and not separated. Through the design process, we explore Life, anticipate all the numerous possibilities that can emerge from our study on Life, and all the ideas that comes with it, flowing freely and then the form will emerge. Rather than being form-driven, to find originality, we need to be driven by the process.


One comment

  1. Why architecture has to be beautiful? b’coz in today standard of practice,its differentiate between architects and engineers.
    subjectively, beauty may depends on the eyes of the beholder.. but if 8 out 10 says the particular architecture masterpiece is aesthetically pleasing to the eyes, so ‘duhhh’ to the balance 2!!

    anyhow, designing process has to come with the ‘feel’, the passion…when one could get intimate with his/her design, be it their ability, their sense…then design would come smooth. sometimes it takes years to be just slightly better than when you started holding your 0.6 artline.


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