Liberation of Form: A Styreotypical Icon

"An iconic building is not functional. Its form produces impractical spaces.An iconic building is badly made. Its form is too hard to make.An iconic building is too expensive, and therefore not social."  Raaij, M 2006, Capitalism and Decadence.

It seems common feelings we all share. The word iconic has become such slang that using it makes us feel uneasy and unworthy. Yet without using the word ‘iconic building’ we talk about it, practice it, and we aspire for it.An icon is defined in the Oxford dictionary as a representative symbol of a cultural period. Until very recently an icon was used for the most extraordinary buildings in the human history, which stood above the rest, like poetry rose over prose. It is the untamed use sudden power of technology and feasibility to achieve personal benefit that has turned it ugly into loud attention seeking worthless buildings.The suddenness of the situation which condensed the process of generation into few years is what interests me the most. Thus this dissertation explores the phenomenon capable to create such a change.Good or bad the untamed form oriented architecture is a symbol of highest level of complexity solving, and has too much to offer, just to over look it. So digging deep into the holds of advertising to find scraps and clues for a better future seemed worth.How has it without our realization crept underneath our subconscious and started to come out in form of crazy buildings springing up all over the world? The deep insight might after all provide a key to another revolution leading to a proud architectural era instead of a self guilty one.

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Reduce, Reuse & Recycle :  Designing with Salvaged Building Materials

Sustainability has emerged as a necessary notion to guide all future human endeavors. It has environmental, social and economic dimensions, embraces all facets of human activity. Environmental sustainability will require optimum utilization for all resources before returning them to nature.

Simply improving the performance of new buildings - making them more resource efficient and with increased potential for recyclability and reusability - will be insufficient to realign the built environment towards a sustainable future. Attention must be directed at the use and reuse of existing buildings. Changing attitudes toward resource use will require us to rethink the environmental value of existing buildings and their constituent materials. Indeed, along with developing new skills, knowledge, and attitudes on environmental issues, architects will have to learn to be more “curators” of the built environment rather than “creators.” (N. Levinson, Architectural Record. Vol. 181, no. 8, 1993, p.70)

Buildings over the past 100 years or so have their own materials palette and construction techniques – varying in quality, quantity and accessibility. (P. Kernan, Design Guide, 2002, p.3). Existing buildings that are refurbished or decommissioned represent a vast source of future building material. Although the majority of buildings were created without a view for re-use or recycling of their constituent materials, components and systems, a large portion will be salvaged and reused in new  construction.  Indeed, whereas the construction industry has historically considered the harvesting of natural resources, the future will see increasing harvesting of resources from the built environment.

Although the wider use of salvaged material will depend on the development of a used materials “infrastructure” for identifying, locating, accessing and reprocessing quality used materials, the key will be for architects and builders to engage the opportunity. Architects will be required to look creatively at re-using existing buildings, materials and components in combination with a mass of new materials that will become available as the building industry examines innovative ways of turning wastes into useful resources.

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