Originally published in Interiors & Sources

11/18/2004

From the Editor

 

Certainly the idea of “newness” is a touchstone of creativity among architects. We see arresting images of conceptual design, often from younger architects, in the pages of the leading trade journals — concepts that, lacking context, are visually provocative and exciting.

These designs are art. They have an artistic validity in and of themselves, aside from their value as representations of reality. Art, of course, is treasured for its transformative impact — breaking with the past — which helps to explain why novelty is so widely admired in architectural design.

This striving for newness is manifested, clearly, in the creation of new shapes (form). An example, in this issue, are the designs of studio bau:ton of Los Angeles (page 38), which prides itself as much on the striking visual effect of its studio designs as it does on its integration of audio/video technology into each design.

Other ways to express novelty include experimenting with new materials, inventing new or different spatial functions, and, of course, trying out new technology.

New materials, like new forms, are fun. Who hasn’t been intrigued by the other-worldliness of today’s shimmering metal alloys used for siding, and by the growing use of translucents for wall and window surfaces? Even an apparent last-minute decision by Thom Mayne of Morphosis to replace stucco with a new synthetic coating for the new Caltrans 7 building in Los Angeles (page 8) represents a paean to modernity.

In terms of spatial functions, designers like to invent new ways of doing things — “solutions” to situations wrought by social and cultural change. An example, here (page 10), is the new scheme of incorporating housing (residential) with both offices (commercial) and shops (retail) in the planning mix for New Urbanist “town centers” and revitalized urban areas.

Finally, there is new technology. This, given our penchant for electronic gadgetry, is surely the easiest way for architects to distinguish themselves as cutting-edge, yet perhaps the hardest to justify. That is because technology changes so fast, with today’s “newest and fastest” soon to appear on Wired magazine’s lists of “tired” and “expired.”

For technology to succeed in lifting a mundane design to the status of modern — forward-looking, hopeful, exciting — it must enable people to do things easier and better. For example, presentations and meetings can be enhanced by the built-in connectivity of today’s “smart” furniture (page 23); conferencing can become truly an “experience” at the new auditorium at the FedEx Institute (page 14).   

Needless to say, in the case of new technology, it helps if it works.

 

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Connectrac wireways offer discrete power and technology connectivity in open interior spaces of all kinds; affordably, quickly and with long-term flexibility.



When choosing a metal-clad building for your next construction project, consider Morton Buildings, Inc., and their designBUILD team, we’ll make your dream a reality.

Visit our website today to learn about the design flexibility of a Morton building and the endless possibilities of partnering with our designBUILD team.

Wood construction is both cost and energy efficient. Check out Morton Buildings and our designBUILD team online today to discover all the benefits of post-frame construction.

We Can Help You Reduce Energy by 30%

Our mission is to help our customers manage their buildings' energy costs, improve reliability, and enhance performance while having a positive impact on the environment.
CLICK HERE to find out how.


Mitsubishi Electric’s H2i R2-Series heat pumps provide 100% heating capacity down to 0° F and simultaneous heating and cooling down to -4° F delivering year-round comfort, regardless of climate zone.

 
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