tsui design and research inc.
architecture city and regional planning clothing industrial design upcoming lectures
eugene tsui in the media home research contact us

architecture

principles of evolutionary architecture
- E u g e n e T s u i




-1-

DEVELOP AND IMPLEMENT RECYCLING SYSTEMS FOR DRINKING WATER, SEWAGE, GARBAGE AND CLEAN AIR. MAKE THESE SYSTEMS AESTHETICALLY INTEGRATED FEATURES OF THE DESIGN.

Just as every functional aspect of a natural structure is an integral feature of it's domain, so it is that integration of all the "systems" of a building provide for the utmost efficiency. This minimizes wasted space while achieving continuity of structure and form simultaneously. All recycling systems are a natural and concordant expression of the building, enhancing it's technological functions as a poetic characteristic of it's overall form. It is not something merely added to a predetermined structure, as is the case with much of the typical architecture today.

-2-

UTIULIZE SELF-SUFFICIENT ENERGY SYSTEMS SUCH AS WINDMILLS, PASSIVE SOLAR CELLS, PHOTOVOLTAICS, THERMAL ENERGY CONVERSION, OCEAN WAVE POWER AND OTHER MEANS TO REDUCE THE BUILDING'S DEPENDANCY ON CITY AND COUNTY POWER SOURCES.

Given the technologies and knowledge that is presently available, reliance upon utility company resources should be obsolete. Long term advantages often outweigh short term convenience. Power companies often use power generation methods that are both wasteful and harmful to living environments. Site specific sources, when intelligently designed, can provide adequate energy under normal living conditions with little or no detriment to the natural environment. The resulting independence is economical and psychologically uplifting, significantly increasing productivity and a sense of well-being. This is a well established fact.

-3-

WHEREVER POSSIBLE USE RECYCLED BUILDING MATERIALS. THESE MIGHT INCLUDE DISCARDED AUTOMOBILE TIRES, ALUMINUM CANS, GLASS BOTTLES AND REUSABLE WOOD, METAL, GLASS, PLASTIC, ETC.

There presently exists millions of tons of reusable materials, locally, that can be easily reused in the form of structural or architectural construction materials. The fact that we utilize natural materials only to entomb them forever, as in the case of stud wall, wood frame construction for example, raises serious questions about the value of such practices. Such construction methods generally produce no benefit compared to alternative methods. It's simply a matter of convenience, convention and the established methods of labor and profit-making. Recycled materials have, in many cases, proven to be superior in water, more fire-proof, lighter in weight, less labor consumptive and stronger than conventional materials. The reason many of these new materials are not used is largely a matter of indolence and traditional conditioning.

-4-

WHENEVER POSSIBLE USE NON-TOXIC BUILDING MATERIALS.

Many present-day building materials, especially those using glues, are toxic. Many documented cases, however, have been traced to poor heating, ventilation and air conditioning mechanisms and layouts. In several cases, very poor air quality was linked to supply vents placed right at the level of loading truck exhaust pipes. This, in turn, produced carbon monoxide fumes at the loading ramp areas of the building. We are so far removed from the principles used in natural structures that we are slowly killing ourselves out of our own misinformation and ignorance. Instead of asking fundamental questions about the relationship of building materials to health we are, instead, creating more complex means of harming ourselves by a symptomatic approach to the problem. Prevention is imperative and it is simply a matter of inquiring and making health an absolute concern of design.

-5-

DESIGN FOR ABSOLUTE FIRE, WATER AND EARTHQUAKE SAFETY. USE FORMS WITH STRUCTURAL SYSTEMS THAT DISPERSE STRESS AND STRAINS AND UNIFY THE BUILDING AS A WHOLE. BE RID OF THE CUT-AND-BUTT MENTALITY IN FAVOR OF CONTINUITY AND INTERCONNECTION.

Today, the forms of our architecture are chosen out of convenience, convention and unquestioned ignorance. Witness the many buildings throughout the world that have completely burned, have been swept away by floods, been broken apart by hurricanes and collapsed from earthquakes. What is then erected in their place, by the same owners, are replicas, often of grander scale, of their previous buildings. We are not learning the lessons; Death and devastation does not seem to have an affect. We are so entrenched in tradition and the saleability of architecture that superior, safe alternatives seem unimportant and too much to ask.

-6-

CREATE STRUCTURES THAT ARE LIGHTWEIGHT, STRONG AND STABLE. MINIMIZE SURFACE AREA WHILE MAXIMIZING VOLUME AND USE LESS MATERIAL AND LABOR THAN CONVENTIONAL BUILDINGS.

The precept of evolution is to do more with less. Given the technological know-how and the advancement of materials and methods we can now create buildings in ways never dreamed of a century ago. Our natural resources are slowly being depleted and this circumstance ushers in the necessity of making better use of materials. Architecture now is imbued with a compelling moral imperative. Architects are the artful stewards of the earth and the insightful innovators of science. Present use of materials and labor consumptive practices are both dangerous and wasteful. Cost of materials in proportion to the efficiency of structure is high. Natural evolutionary development moves towards materials that cost less and work with greater efficiency, and this has much to do with the ingenuity and imagination of the designer.

-7-

LET THE BUILDING INTERNALLY EXPRESS THE NATURAL CIRCULATION PATTERN OF ITS INHABITANTS. THE BUILDING OUGHT TO ACCOMMODATE THE ACTUAL CIRCULATORY CHARACTERISTICS OF PEDESTRIAN TRAFFIC.

It is a fact that human beings, and other living creatures, move in continuous curves. Any change in direction creates a sharp or gradual curve in pedestrian movement. A building ought to accommodate our natural pedestrian behavior through space. Most buildings assume human beings move in rectilinear severity like disciplined military cadets. In fact, first year military cadets are often forced to walk in just such a fashion as a way of manipulating and breaking down their psyches. Now what does living and working in such rectilinear environments do to our emotional/psychological being? If our own environments do not enhance our natural propensities then of what benefit are they? If our environments are detrimental to our well-being then should we not find ways to defy this odious practice?

-8-

ELIMINATE ALL SUPERFLUOUS ITEMS FROM THE DESIGN AND ALL UNNECESSARY CONSTRUCTION PROCEDURES WHENEVER POSSIBLE.

Simplicity is the ultimate directive of evolution. Many of the specified items of a building, i.e., casing, door frames, window frames, elaborate ornament and the idiosyncratic knick-knacks of a building, can be eliminated. By using materials that perform simultaneous functions, are waterproof, fireproof, earthquake resistant and termite-proof one can eliminate several material and labor intensive steps in the construction process. This, in turn, creates a building that has greater efficiency and is less expensive to erect. Current construction practices rely on archaic means to produce conformist results with high profit margins. Any alterations to this conventional approach usually causes alarm in the sense of increased profit contingencies. This is unnecessary if the architect devises means of educating the contractor and subcontractors to perform the work using atypical methods and materials that reduce the number of construction sequences.

-9-

SEEK OUT ADVANCEMENTS IN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY AND INTEGRATE THESE DEVELOPMENTS AS FUNCTIONAL AND AESTHETIC FEATURES OF THE BUILDING AND SITE. USE FEW MATERIALS WELL. RESEARCH EACH MATERIAL FOR ITS GREATEST AND MOST FAR REACHING CAPABILITIES. EXPLORE THE NATURE OF THE MATERIALS WITH INSIGHTFUL INVESTIGATION AND ANALYSIS.

Being constantly informed about scientific developments is essential to the evolution of ideas in architecture. It is technology that revolutionizes the means and methods of construction. Science, technology and biology are merging in our modern world and architecture is the embodiment of this union. It is imperative that we question and explore the possibilities of common and uncommon materials and cast off the shackles of convention. The advancement of technology has produced heretofore undreamed of materials and energy systems that make our present-day buildings seem like clumsy artifacts. Yet we still cling dearly to our inculcated images of the built world we inhabit and our human-made environments are embarrassingly dreary examples of this.

-10-

BEGIN TO SEE THE EDIFICE AS A LIVING ORGANISM CAPABLE OF EXPANDING AND CONTRACTING, ELONGATING AND SHORTENING ACCORDING TO CHANGING SPATIAL, CLIMATIC, FUNCTIONAL NEEDS.

With the advent of new, lightweight, maintenance-free and exceptionally strong materials we can create an architecture that is no longer static, heavy and cumbersome. We now have the know-how to create spaces that fold and swivel, expand and contract. Lightweight, fire-resistent, transparent panels can liberate our consciousness of the heavens--we can see where we could not see before. Floors, walls and roofs enclose no more--our sense of the environment around us is expansive not confining. An architecture revolution is taking place and technology, in the hands of the informed and imaginative architect, is the prodigenator of its future.

-11-

PRESERVE THE NATURAL ENVIRONMENT BY MINIMIZING THE "FOOTPRINT" OF THE BUILDING. SPAN OVER THE SITE OR BUILD VERTICALLY IF POSSIBLE.

Given the means and methods available today the assumptions of site placement no longer need apply. The proverbial concrete or wooden "footprint" of the building is, in some cases, a detriment to the living ecology of the site. We seem to have been enamored with the attitude that the ground ought to be covered; that the "proper placement" of a building is to suffocate the very ground it sits upon. The ground is a living microcosm and can be very useful in its potential for heating, cooling and recycling. Spanning a site allows for aerodynamics that are useful in fire prevention, cooling, power generation and ecological preservation in ways that are impossible in a "normal" building orientation.

-12-

LET SEEMINGLY SEPARARTE ELEMENTS BE UNIFIED AS CONTINUOUS FEATURES; FLOORS, WALLS AND CEILINGS BECOME A UNIFIED WHOLE. USE SHELVES, COUNTERS, LIGHTING FIXTURES, WINDOWS AND FURNISHINGS AS EXPRESSIVE EXTENTIONS OF THE BUILDING ITSELF.

Wholeness of life & of environment is a rarity in our modern world. Everywhere the frame of reference is one of division, fragmentation, compartmentalization and symptomatic, temporal solutions to profound problems. No where is it more obvious then in our human-made environments. Fragmentation leaves its mark everywhere; rooms are sub-compartments of larger compartments. Discord and tawdiness are revealed at every turn of the hallway. The edifice is not whole because we are not whole. Giving pattern to structure and form, nature knows no interruption of materials and surfaces. All is a concordant synthesis of space and structure in the realm of economy of materials, methods and purpose.

-13-

ELIMINATE THE ROOF, WALLS AND FLOOR AS HEAVY, DARK SHELTERING STRUCTURES. LET THEM BE INSTEAD, A TRANSPARENT, TRANSLUSCENT WINDOW TO THE SKY, THE SUN AND THE STARS. LIBERATION NOT LIMITATION.

It is paramount that we question the fundamental experience of architecture and move from confinement and restriction to expansiveness and emancipation. Now is the time to see space as bending, curving and continuous surfaces--a universe of fluidity and change; of truth and life. Space is not planar, grid-like, rigid and predictable. This is a falsehood that has imbedded itself into the consciousness of humanity. The confining countenance of architecture must be broken by the desire to know the living forces which surround us. The materials at hand allow us to see where we have not seen before--through walls, ceilings and floors. New, lightweight, transparent materials are the incubus of a new character and quality of architecture and it requires only that we adjust our vision to face the possibilities ahead with insight and imagination.

-14-

EMBRACE THE SPIRIT OF ADVENTURE, RISK AND DARING. THIS IS A MEASURE OF THE COMPELLING FORCES OF BEING FULLY ALIVE. SEE YOUR OWN CONDITIONING AND MOVE TOWARDS THE UNKNOWN SO AS TO BEGIN THE PATH OF GENUINE EVOLUTION.

Of all human virtues, the triumph of life's hardships and the capacity to stand steadfast to one's own vision is absolutely necessary to retain humaness. Without the quality of humaness there is no meaningful architecture. The appeal of convenience and acquisition has engulfed simplicity and sensibility . The great failure of architecture is that so many worthy individuals have failed to live by the power of their own vision. Too many have succumbed to the vicissitudes of life. Architecture then becomes a by-product of a broken and weakened spirit and conformity rules the land. Architecture is created by architects. If there is no self-evolution than no evolution of architecture can take place. Self-development and architectural development proceed from the same origin--the mind and heart of humanity and the insightful comprehension of nature's thoughts.




back to top
© 1998 tsui design and research, inc.
no content displayed on this site can be used or copied
without written permission from tsui design & research, inc.
symbiosis | holoscope