Wednesday, July 29, 2009

First go at Abstract

Blink: Why Superficiality is more Authentic than Reality

Blink is rapid cognition, spontaneous decisions, the part of our brain that leaps to conclusions instantaneously under stressful circumstances. Blink is the judgement given to something in the first two seconds of any situation. Eg. When you first meet someone, when you pick up a book and scan the cover and blurb, products that we see on shelves and the decision whether to buy them or not.

The honours report will combine this social phenomenon with the aesthetics and surface of architecture. The dominant argument taught in architecture is that form follows function, that surface should be a reflection of substance, and that experiential qualities of a building are integral to good architecture.

The report argues that the architectural implications of Blink results in a phenomenon where surface can be separated from the building, and the image or skin of the building is more valuable than the experience or occupancy of the building. People will make judgements on the building within the first two seconds of seeing it (usually they see the building through Google street view or magazine) and this initial formulation of opinion is more important than anything else. In this sense, the surface, photograph or image of the building has more social and economic implications than the actual physical presence.


  1. The Dangers of Superficiality [take two]

    Buildings today are designed to be more superficial than in the past. However, many of these theatrical designs fail to deliver the required functionality and lack social responsibility.

    Superficiality in architecture is defined to be when a design has its primary focus on the external form. This form will often be based on a single idea, or a small set of ideas, that are sometimes taken to their extreme manifestation.

    A superficial design is often developed quickly with ‘one liner’ ideas and with a great emphasis on the initial visual impact. This has come about because some firms want to achieve fame as quickly as possible. Superficial designs are used to generate maximum publicity which acts as a springboard for recognition.

    Designs can be used as a branding tool, instead of a mechanism for delivering functional buildings. An increasing number of design proposals simply offer the audience a ‘wow’ effect through various means of visual stimulation and multi-media presentations. In doing so, the architect’s moral responsibility to create harmonious and functional environments that also touch one’s heart.

    The paper examines superficial architectural designs. It concludes that such superficial architectures in many cases result in cosmetic forms that are used to sell and publicise designs, but ignore or fail to deliver some of the core architectural requirements of buildings.

  2. Today what we are experiencing is the absorption of all virtual modes of expression into that of advertising. All original cultural forms, all determined languages are absorbed in advertising because it has no depth, it is instantaneous and instantaneously forgotten. Triumph of superficial form, of the smallest common denominator of all significations, degree zero of meaning, triumph of entropy over all possible tropes. The lowest form of energy of the sign. This unarticulated, instantaneous form, without a past, without a future, without the possibility of metamorphosis, has power over all the others.

    -Jean Baudrillard