08 Aug Unbuilt Works
Unrealized Architectural Work
For me providing a service to a client, whether it be as an architect, designer or interior designer, is fueled by the creative energy that goes into the project, however small. This explains why I am a practitioner and not an academic – not that Academic rigor is any less significant when it comes to design.
In fact each project always starts as an idea that has its origins in the history and theory of the discipline. This is as true for serious architects and interior designers as it is for simpler methodologies such as Feng Shui. Practice and theory are completely different beasts. While they aliment each other, practicing architecture sometimes takes one through the process of building a dream that never eventuates – and that’s what this page is about.
The Energy Behind a Building Project
Would the approach to a design project be very different if one knew that the probability of it not being realized was lurking around the corner? Many buildings fail to eventuate due to personal, circumstantial or budgetary reasons.
A design process is lengthy and can occupy the mind of both designer and client day and night. It takes a lot of energy for an architect to truly understand what a client wants to achieve. While energy is used up, it is also generated in the process: forming part of the positive creative edge that leads us on to unforeseen paths.
What happens to us when a project close to the stage of actual construction, is cancelled?
It feels as though a combined journey of creative minds (both Architect and Client) planned, saved and intensely looked forward to is suddenly whisked away. Sometimes it is cancelled for serious reasons that do not allow the client to continue. The architect may feel as defeated as the client. Sometimes the decision to cancel a project is trivial and the architect is left holding a “paper dream.”
However I do feel that buildings un-built have lives of their own as they keeps returning to people’s lives in various and sometimes modified (or modest) forms. This is both disturbing and reassuring. It takes a while to let a building project go because, in the case of say, a small office construction, resources and people are invested. When the project finally comes grinding to a halt, the whole office hangs in limbo for an undetermined amount of time. Until a new (or more modest) decision is made.
This all feels like unfinished business with all its shades of sadness and to some degree it is. The fact that buildings and other constructions continues to live through publications or (as in one case) Augmented Reality Applications means that it does come fairly close to the original “built” idea in a phantasmagorical way. Without all the construction issues, a project can be immortalized in an idealistic way.
I suppose all of the above applies to every competition an architect or designer enters. I would not like to make a career out of “un-built work”, but it is reassuring that these project are not forever lost.