Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/223540
Title: PROCESS OVER PRODUCT : THE PRACTICE OF MAKING THAT EMPHASIZES ON HUMANITY AND MATERIALITY
Authors: GOH WEI PENG
Keywords: Architecture
Design Track
DT
Master (Architecture)
Tomohisa Miyauchi
2015/2016 Aki DT
Architect
Craft
Craftman
Design
Experiment
Humanity
Making
Materiality
Modern Architecture
Practice
Process
Site
Collaboration
Issue Date: 7-Jan-2016
Citation: GOH WEI PENG (2016-01-07). PROCESS OVER PRODUCT : THE PRACTICE OF MAKING THAT EMPHASIZES ON HUMANITY AND MATERIALITY. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: Dated back a few hundred years ago, Medieval cathedral workshops existed as organisations made up of craftsmen honed with the wide range of skills necessary for the construction of a Gothic cathedral. Using merely basic tools, medieval builders worked with the driving force of building a magnificent structure for the greater glory of God. It would be interesting to imagine the success of collaboration between the medieval builders manifesting in the form of such astonishing architectural feats back then before modern machinery. Inspired by a similar working model, Studio Mumbai’s sensibilities harness more similarities to traditional craft workshops than to a conventional architects’ office, hosting hundreds of skilful carpenters and builders who fill the studios with big-scale mock-up models, conducting numerous and varied kinds of experimentations on materiality, texture and detailing of architectural pursuits. A close collaboration was established when the founder architect, Bijoy Jain, encouraged all his artisans to participate in conceptual discussion beyond just simply the building process. The roles between architects, carpenters and stonemasons blur as the members learn and grow together. Collaboration among all professionals on site is vital in the “making” process of architecture. It does not only allow for modifications and changes to be made spontaneously, but also creates opportunities for new ideas to be explored and studied in a site-specific manner. The Construction site should be a collective workshop and an experimental ground simultaneously. In the practice today, architects work in an environment where discussions with different parties are mostly done through utilities within a virtual realm - emails, phone calls and online text messages. Collaboration on actual site is kept on a minimal scale for convenience and a maintenance of a sense of efficiency. The spaces that hold most of the site meetings are often within small air-conditioned container boxes. I personally perceive this as a crisis in our modern architectural practice, as the new age of architecture is gradually losing the emphasis of sensitivity and the human-touch in the process of “making”. After witnessing the various collaborative efforts that have shaped the process of design and hence after the eventual product, it evoked my interest to unfold and challenge new possibilities in changing the mundane practice model within the context of our modern-day utopia city-state that is Singapore. I am keen in understanding the symbiotic relationships that can be developed through existing architectural practices. In the last school vacation in 2015, I spent a month partaking in an internship at Vo Trong Nghia Architects, situated in Vietnam. I learnt the importance of collaboration and experimental spirit through projects that involved intriguing and highly-skilled bamboo craftsmanship. It opened my eyes to a new and different way of visualizing and practising architecture. It is my belief that the architects of the project would not have been able to materialize and translate as successfully the complexity of the design without the knowledge and participation of the bamboo craftsmen; likewise, the craftsmen would not have had the opportunity to challenge themselves and improve their skill sets without the building demands and creative requirements posed by architects. This is perhaps the kind of symbiotic relationship that had initially drawn my attention to this study of research. In our increasingly globalised state with an ever-shifting economy and industrial silhouette, it then becomes imperative that we keep questioning the sense of creativity and making embedded within the changing shape of the construction industry. A suitable query to pose is - can this be upheld and maintained when we have a procurement system that labels architecture as part of a “logistical supply chain”? There are numerous clients who often pursue deadline-driven project management and refuse to simultaneously consider design as a critical cultural production – arguably even on the same level as a fine-art – when in fact the two should perhaps not be mutually exclusive. If inherent sustainability is the overall aim, the new generation of architects can be implored to ask ourselves how we might choose to deliver, commission, procure or plan our built environment so that it is not just a target-driven exercise, to become more whole as a design creation.
URI: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/223540
Appears in Collections:Master's Theses (Restricted)

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