Form Follows Function – Discussion 1

    Our session this Tuesday began with a discussion on Louis Sullivan’s famous Phrase “Form Follows Function”. The discussion gained relevance in the face of an increasing tendency towards extravagant forms by some of our “starchitects”, who seem to be putting form over function and aiming to create bold, unconventional forms that have an immediate “wow” factor.

   While some agreed that it is a matter of pure common sense to put function above all as it is the primary reason for the construction of the building. All aspects of the design, including the form stems from the efficient fulfilling of the basic function of the building. It only seems rational to put attach importance to function.

 Some others were of the opinion that “form follows function” is just a nonsensical justification for building some “big dull boxes” and that function definitely has more than one aspect. Vinod pointed out the case of Bilbao, where the weirdly (for want of a better word) shaped Guggenheim museum led to a total transformation of the city. According to him, function is a much varied thing and that it is time to redefine Modernism’s war cry. 

 Peace was restored by Ajay who calmly quoted Geoffrey Bawa who said that a building must be true to its function while respecting the nature of the site, its location, the local materials and the culture of the people inhabiting that area. 

 It was Ajay who triggered the next discussion with a few slides quoting Christopher Day’s “Spirit and Place”. 

 We had a lively discussion on the increasingly face-less nature of modern architecture and the cold , impersonal spaces that seem to have stemmed from the ego of the architect and refuses to blend into , or become a part of its natural scenario. The need to delve into our past and explore the ingenious and beautiful solutions developed by those who walked before us was felt unanimously. 

 It was agreed that one needs to explore and filter the basic principle that characterizes these spaces and try to transform them so that they can be applicable in the present context…

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