Friday, March 27, 2009

can architects do more with less?

I'm still warming up to this subject! (I have warmed up! Here we go)

The theme this time, for the exhibition architect 2009 was ‘doing more with less’. National Conference a.k.a. ‘sessions’, which was held concurrently, pursued the theme.

The menu was familiar. As usual I managed to munch through the whole green, energy saving, carbon footprint, low cost construction methods etc. in one go, without a clue as to how one can architecturally do more with less. However there were two noteworthy exceptions this mundane meal. 
One was the lecture by architect Madhura Premathilake in which he raised the very question “is architecture as a profession actually capable do more with less or actually what we really mean is doing a little bit less that what we used to do”. Then architect Ashley de Vos mentioned that most of the remedies and ‘new’ solutions we prescribe today are in fact essentially what we have been practising as architects about 10 –20 years ago. (Authors note: i.e. Simple colonnaded classrooms and rural hospital wards, government offices with large verandas, which are well suited for tropical climate and less costly to built)

Let me also add another question to this; is it really necessary to do more with less? How about doing less altogether.


  1. Janaka, since you are still warming your self? i thought of adding my two cents, I think they missed the bus completely with regard to the topic except for madhura who suggested we could actually curtail the brief rather than inflating it (less fees but better for every one?)

  2. I just stumbled upon this blog unexpectedly, and I think that we DO need to look at how we can do more with less not trying to analyze and dissect the theme. Humans are naturally greedy...its their nature and the clients architects get are naturally greedy..I don’t know much about you guys, but the once that I’ve seen and worked with are. And they always want more out of less. so i think its time architects gave some thought to this. Architects should not design for architects they should design for normal people. They may have their own whims and fancies, but an architect should always think about the fact that they are not designing for themselves but for their client. In more from less what I gathered was, are they implying that we abandon our minimalistic ways and go with venutury? To submit our selves to the Grecian pillar fetishes of clients? Or simply a reaction to the ongoing financial crisis? (on going in Sri Lanka for as long as I remember)
    All in all I believe that we should do more with less. I don’t think that building a shed when a client requires elegance is quite what the theme went on to say.