Design and Architecture

You regularly see Architects who have crossed over into Industrial Design.

What prevents an Industrial Designer designing a building?

I think a huge part of the reason is that Architecture is a licensed profession. This means that an industrial designer really has to collaborate with a licensed architect.

I’m sure many industrial designers have collaborated on the design of buildings, but the idea of one person getting credit for the building (which is ridiculous, anyways) is lost.

Ya, I am not thinking along the lines of one person taking credit. Just simply a building is, effectively, a very large product.

I see it similarly to designing an electronics product. I can’t get anywhere without my partners who do EE and ME, etc. I wouldn’t be able to get anywhere without a team of people with me on a building either.

Well, you can actually do it as a designer (I do it :slight_smile:).

The thing is, a lot of designer don’t have the technical background to design a building in a way, so that it stands a chance to be build this way.

Also, as a designer, of course you are not licenced to build a complete building (at least not here in Germany).

Here, and this is what I am refering to, even an architect is not entitled to build a building on his own. He needs somebody who checks the static.

Here the architectural process of building a building is divided into several parts.

The first part can definitely be done by a designer, because it is called (or better said translated) conceptual and draft architecture ( this is anyway the fun part).

For the next steps you have to be a licenced architect.

This is actually very often done in competitions when somebody wins a comp and sells or contracts then to somebody else.

Look at Tadao Ando. He is no Architect.

I think the biggest problem arises when you try to convince a customer that you can do it.


Simple really. There are 10-100x more architects than designers practicing in the world now. Competition makes it harder to switch into architecture.

yah. i made it through 3 years of an architecture program before switching over to industrial design. ID is a cake walk compared to architecture. i switched because of shorter projects, better opportunities and passion. (waaaaaay better opportunities)

anyone can design a building, you need an architect to proof and sign off on the drawings and plans.

…actually, it’s the licenced Civil Engineer signature that counts, that’s what qualifies the Architects’ stamp.

I’ve been trying to think of a building designed by a non-architect and still haven’t come up with a concrete example. I remember reading, possibly in AARP about a house whose interior followed universal design principles. I believe that it was conceived by a retired product designer…but I could be wrong.

Does anyone remember seeing something like that?

I DID! :smiley:

And as far as I know Philippe Starck too (in Antwerp, Belgium).

OK, maybee I should have mentioned him before myself :open_mouth:

quickie here again. (I am always running after time but am enjoying it very single bit…)

I like architecture too. I think there are a lot more designers out there than architecture though. The opportunities for an architect is definitely much lesser because you don’t have so many land space for every architect to practice what they know. I feel that those who make it in architecture mostly have either 1 of the qualities: 1. either they come from very well to do families or 2. They are very gifted in the field they are in.

I could say the same for design but its more evident for architecture. Even if you are very talented in the field, you also have to face a lot of the already in the field seasoned architects too. See how many reowned buildings built by older architects and its not hard to see the stiff competition.

back to ID. I can see ID doing architecture. We cant build skyscrappers but we could do very smart and nifty buildings in a ‘product’ sense. More later. Got to run.

I can’t believe no one has mentioned Buckminster Fuller, with his geodesic domes.

Colani designed a single room with a cylinder which spun between functions.

I think ID has potential where small, modular architecture is concerned. Especially where innovations in production (pre-fab etc.) and utilisation are possible. Then of course you can look at products which serve as architecture, but aren’t nessesarily infrastructure, ie tents, awnings.

Who would design a bus shelter? a rapid-deployment disaster relief post? public phones boxes? And of course, caravans?

There are always some great articles here: Compulsory daily reading!

Are you limiting ID to the smaller side of architecture? I don’t think you are, but its not 100% clear from your post.

The main reason I ask this is that I have been thinking pretty long and hard about how Design could impact the world w/o people having to feel as though they are taking steps backwards in time (i.e. giving up cars or eliminating portions of one’s lifestyle for change isn’t going to happen, IMO).

Architecture, as McDonough and Braungart are proving, is a fertile stomping grounds for Greenovation™.

i think the issue of scale is interesting. in architecture, you are dealing with unique instances of environments and end users’ interaction withIN or out. ID, we deal with scale in terms of production and end users’ interaction with. a different set of parameters based off the same principles, really.

I think we can say that Bucky Fuller was both an IDer and an architect, even though he had no degree in either. Does anyone know what he studied at Harvard before leaving? I don’t believe it would have been ID, so I think we can not count him amongst the IDers who have designed buildings.

Industrial designers should. Architecture and architects are technophobes, with a few well known exceptions all architects I’ve interacted with, junior to senior, are at the drafting board, don’t speak CAD and don’t trust electronic tools. 1980.

All buildings, North America anyway, are custom built from individual signature buildings to 1,000+ unit housing developments. Observe the onsite garbage dumps of waste, offcuts, etc.

Building components (switchboxes, structural items, doors, windows, etc.) seem to have a cheap ethos, not inexpensive, cheap. They don’t fit anywhere intended well, and once installed they’re pemanent. It’s easier to modify a car than a house.

Innovation is practically non-existant in the building industry. It seems anything new in building products is highly iterative (preassembled roof framing gables, plaster > plasterboard > drywall). Attempts at mass manufactured semi-complete building components all seem to fail. Much speculation, but why?

It’s an argument against registered, certified professions: architects, building fabricators and curent municipal inspections and codes.

Sometimes you start a thread hoping for one thing and get something much, much more than you anticipate. I love the dialogue going on here.

At risk of pushing this in a whole other direction…to me, this discussion is much more about Design (capital D).

Isn’t all Design the same premise with different principles? Kind of like Lions, Tigers, and Panthers are all cats but look different. The question is, are Design Fields like Leopards? Unable to change their spots? I tend to think no.

Design (again with a capital D) for me is about visualization of ideas. That visualization can be in the form of an electronic gizmo or a building. An army of construction workers can’t build a build a building without a vision. I don’t see any reason why an someone in ID can’t lead that.

Design (again with a capital D) for me is about visualization of ideas. That visualization can be in the form of an electronic gizmo or a building. An army of construction workers can’t build a build a building without a vision. I don’t see any reason why an someone in ID can’t lead that.

i don’t either - but i can see it now: An iD guy designs a fantastic building, opeining day on the front page of the newspaper cutting the ribbon - headline - “innovative young architect opens new museum” it’s just words…

‘architect’ is more descriptive than ‘designer’ just like ‘furniture designer’ is more descriptive than ‘industrial designer’ -

there is ofcourse the difference in training and background but essentially we’re talking about the same processes of creating - conceptualizing - visualizing… model-making, redesigning, questioning, problem solving stuff.

Here in Europe there are prefabricated houses. These houses are completely prepared in a factory (wall by wall, with fittings, doors and so on).

These companies are often able to assemble such a house within ONE day. It’s amazing to watch. In the morning there is just a plain lawn or whatever, and in the evening you have your house standing there.

Whats even more amazing is that these houses have the best insulation and are very very environmantelly friendly.

And, these companies sometimes team up with a designer to make new models of their houses.

Actually, the innovation over here is dramatic over the last 15 years. They developed lots of zero energy houses, means, they produce themselves as much energy as the use.

I think there is a fair market for designers to get into this game. I mean, what does an architect do at the beginning of the process. He makes a sketch of the house. Well, we can do that.

I think where we might be much better is to make a complete innovative concept, interior/exterior than an architect.

Another area where designers are very well be able to excell is in developing innovative stuff like removable walls, smart removable flooring with electric and gaslines beneath and so on.

It is just not so common.

But in the end it is all just business. If a designer can proof to a developer that it makes sense to work with him instead of an architect, or maybee as a complemantery, he will stand a big chance to be successfull.

But how does that work over there?

I worked in Toronto and in San Francisco, and what I mostly saw where huge developments from companies like Minto. Do they have their own architects?
Do they hire independent ones?

Who “designs” for example the houses of the celebrities in Beverly Hills?


It is about making ideas come true. Who does it, nobody cares about. I think a lot of designers have just much to much respect concerning their missing knowledge of statics. Guess what. Most architects don’t know much about this either, well, sounds maybee a little bit tough but some of my friends studied architecture, and I always had to help them there. After they worked for some years it is more empiric.

But it doesn’t matter, because there are lists with all the data in there.

I was going to mention pre-fab housing as an example of design. My father designed pre-fab housing for a couple decades. It’s actually a huge business in the US and Canada. My father also had worked in construction, so he would often point out all of the advantages and then some you’ve listed here. Tighter tolerances, superior quality control and the ability to more successfully deliver on user’s needs. Unfortunately, pre-fabs are not really accepted by people. They are seen as temporary housing and often built to that spec, even though, they can be built to higher standards.

Also, an architect friend called me a communist when I tried to sing the praises of manufactured housing. This was the first architect inflicted injury on design-ego.