Architecture Within & Beyond


Discourse, 4 June 2021

A diagram illustrates my fundamental approach to architecture

My architectural approach (or philosophy) slowly takes shape after few years in school and short experience practice overseas and homeland. Looking across my works, they came off in various styles, and very different approaches indeed. Sometimes I get lost finding their similarity and correlation. Their representations are never static, but shifted from time to time and took form to their very own parameters. I do not have the intention of making architecture differently or vice versa- to remain as generic as possible either.

Architecture to me, is always originated from wonders, and ended up perhaps a reminder of something greater than us. It should always start from a typological question, transcending mere functionalism, superficial concept, and blatant aesthetics. Architecture is mainly about architecture, though many side orders come to its concerns as well. At this point, my design approach usually begins with a series of monologues and self-critique scrutiny on the inner side, and extends outwards to conform, confront, and sometimes challenge the latent context, which I’ll call it the ‘within and beyond’.

They are nothing literal about the inside or outside of the architecture, but everything relates to architecture and itself. The term ‘within’ implies the viewpoint to contemplate architecture autonomously. It could be imagined as an internal dialogue, lies eminently on self-consciousness, which is an absolute necessity in any form of creation, or the act of creating itself. Whereas the ‘beyond’ are more about the significance, not of architecture, but of the relation of architecture to other things. This way of thought relates the creation of architecture to the reality ground, of everything about its context and emerging issues. The balance and tension between the ‘within’ and ‘beyond’ come as the first quest whenever I start to design architecture.

And I have always concerned with the scales, especially the scales of thought. It makes so much difference on the perspectives of oneself to relate with particular matters. I realize the more we may shift ourselves from one to another scale when concerning a context, the more of depth we may create during the design process. Most of the time, the depth is not referred to a specific aspect of the design, but the condensed thoughts that stacked together before reaching a design decision. In that sense, the architecture here may not be a sole building or space- it could be a new typology, a cyclical process, a radical statement, or an entire framework of policymaking.

Of course, many of my works had failed too, or sometimes does not align perfectly to the similar ‘depth’ or speculations I have mentioned. Yet, they have become the bits and pieces which shape and overlay my design philosophy from stage to stage nonetheless. Along the journey, I tried to experiment more with critical reflections on my progress through these works and I will continue to do so.

After all, like what Robert Venturi has raised in Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture: “Should an artist go all the way with his or her philosophies?”, I am still being sceptical to the meaning of such pursuit. Currently, I am pretty much intended to be suggestive rather than dogmatic for my writings here.

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