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Tag: is it that important what something looks like?


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It’s Just Design

It’s Just Design
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A colleague tells a story of how she once asked a student why they made a certain design decision and the student replied “I don’t know. It’s just design.” It’s difficult to comprehend this as I’ve always thought of design as something requiring no small amount of knowledge and skill together with an understanding of […]

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Designer Bookbinding

Designer Bookbinding
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The word “designer” before anything is never a good sign. Here’s what designer bookbinding looked like in the time of Alberti. To be fair, most books also had designer pages. They weren’t for everybody. Here’s a designer book that could easily have been on the shelves in a Palladian villa. Here’s an example of German bookbinding from the […]

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Aesthetic Effect #5: COMBINE

Aesthetic Effect #5: COMBINE
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COMBINE is the name I give to the aesthetic effect that arises when what we see is reinforced by what we know. That simple term “what we know” includes all those subjective things resulting from culture and education that something we look at makes us think of, remember or recall, regardless of whether or not […]

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The Tree is Not Trying to be an Asset

The Tree is Not Trying to be an Asset
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Everybody likes trees. This is a tree (in the front.) It’s an overcast day, and almost evening so the tree’s not doing much in the way of photosynthesis or the other stuff that trees do incidentally as a result. Here’s a list of that other stuff from The Encyclopaedia of Earth. Mitigation of heat islands […]

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Architecture Myths #5: A is to B as B is to A+B

Architecture Myths #5: A is to B as B is to A+B
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Let’s not bother with facts and definitions as we all know what we’re talking about here. However – and I’ll return to this – the A-series paper sizes are not trying to look beautiful. Here’s one of many websites devoted to the Golden Proportion. I’m not the first to blog about the cult or myth of the Golden Ratio. […]

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“Hello-o! The tree is not trying to be beautiful.”

“Hello-o! The tree is not trying to be beautiful.”
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This post is the first of a new type where you can send me suggestions for inclusion in the gallery of 1) mobile phone masts pretending to be trees or 2) well-designed mobile phone masts not pretending to be anything. Use the form at the bottom to send me a link.

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Pylon Competition Update

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Today’s Guardian newspaper had images of the shortlist for the pylon competition I wrote about in an earlier post. Here are the six shortlisted entries. 1) T-Pylon by Bystrup Architecture, Design & Engineering Materials: Hot dip galvanized steel with a paint finish and as alternatives Cor-Ten steel, stainless steel, and hot dip galvanized without paint. What […]

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Pylon Design Competition

Pylon Design Competition
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Hello again! Check this out!   http://www.ribapylondesign.com/ Yes, it’s an RIBA-approved competition to re-design electricity pylons. Here’s all the good bits from the competition brief, deconstructed. Competition Objective The challenging target of an 80% reduction in carbon emissions by 2050, means substantial change in our energy infrastructure with electricity becoming an increasingly important part of our […]

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The Microprocessor is Not Trying to Look Beautiful

The Microprocessor is Not Trying to Look Beautiful
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Performance-beauty already exists in other fields of manufacture and production. Performance-beauty is about a constant and focussed drive to improve comprehensive performance. Nobody cares what microprocessors look like but there is a never-ending effort to improve their performance, eliminate their defects, simplify their manufacture, and reduce their final cost. Performance is all that matters. You […]

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Inspirations for Performance-Beauty Architecture

Inspirations for Performance-Beauty Architecture
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1) Vernacular architecture of many countries has the efficient and climate-aware use of local materials. Such buildings were never intended to be called architecture. Many people now find their simple honesty refreshing. Performance-beauty architecture has a simple honesty. 2) Shanty towns on the edge of large cities such as Capetown, Rio de Janeiro, Manila or […]

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New Architecture Found in Space!

New Architecture Found in Space!
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Following on from the previous post, there’s probably not much chance of oil rigs ever being considered an expression of a new type of architectural beauty. Nevertheless, the idea is still out there, waiting for the right example to express it as the way for the future. The extremely scientific building known as the Large Hadron […]

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The Tree is Not Trying to Look Beautiful

The Tree is Not Trying to Look Beautiful
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Here’s an image of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in happier days. It’s in semi-submersible mode so it could be towed to where it needs to be. Here’s a link to its technical specifications.  This next one’s a different type of oil rig – a jackup oil rig. Again, it’s not self-powered, but it has a […]