Design vs. Design implications

A frequent question one encounters today is why green and eco-friendly ideas are not frequently seen, despite their critical need, ease of implementation and financial viability. While there can be no definite answers to such socio-psychology-based questions, this query can lead us to wonder whether we really design knowing well what the design is and what impact it would have once it is built.

Let us look at these familiar cases. We appreciate a hand-crafted wooden paper holder in a friend’s office, bring it home as a gift, but get disappointed by the same piece on our table. Nothing wrong in the craft, but what was a fitting piece on a wooden table, becomes a total misfit on a glass and chromium table, making all the difference. Down the road we observe a porch projecting from a curved wall, insist with our architect to keep one in our house front too, but feel unhappy when it is actually built so. The difference could be because the original curve might have got balanced by other complimentary curves and in our house it could be out of place due to house design. Likewise, if the owner randomly changes a wall or a window, it may affect either the structures or the elevation, simply because the design implication was not considered while changing the design.

Majority of buildings today are being built by habit where we take the ideas for granted. Unfortunately, many design and construction experts also tend to ignore fresh thinking, mindlessly repeating the routine practice. The claim of hundreds of houses in the bio-data, without ever doing any performance assessment or realising lost opportunities therein, makes contractors and builders too oblivious to the implications of their constructions.

Everyone can visualise design but everyone cannot visualise the implications of designs. The implications are more critical than the design itself. Majority of us who claim to design are actually recollecting our own memories and experiences, repeating what our elders did in varied ways. We also could be simply copying a popular idea, not realising how a great building needs original thinking.

Why are we shunning eco-specialisation in architecture? The most common cause is the fees payable as an avoidable waste of money, which of course is a myth. More effective solutions, even if they come at a cost, are worth it. There are innumerable non-monetary, invisible and non-quantifiable benefits like day light, fresh air, flexible space, efficient designs, alternative aesthetics, lower maintenance costs, lesser power bills and such others. A discernible house owner may wish to get every aspect of the building to be reviewed and revised, to get maximum benefits for the time, money and energy spent.

To that end, we should think about not only the design but also about the design implications. If design implications are the criteria, eco-friendly ideas have a greater chance of getting executed.

(The writer is an architect working for eco-friendly designs and can be contacted at

Related Topics
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | May 7, 2021 12:49:19 PM |

Next Story