"Call us dull, call us

sellouts, call us
gentrifiers – just don't call
us copycats" Top architecture stories

Phineas Harper | Published 16 hours ago
| 4 comments

Architects shouldn't be stifled by
their distain for copying
successful ideas, from Assemble's
pop-up cinema to Shigeru Ban's
cardboard structures, says
Phineas Harper in his latest
Opinion column.

Dezeen readers, you have a

Not an obsession Most Most with chic staircase porn. something more insidious. we mock mimics. You are all obsessed with originality. architects should instead urgently rally to the cause 5 Asian cities are overtaking London and New York.dark obsession. It is an obsession that clogs the comments section of this site and ultimately weakens the power of architecture. nothing new. Much of the best cultural production across other arts comes from the clear 4 Wine-tasting pavilions by Walker Warner overlook Napa Valley consensus that iterating is inventive. Across architectural culture we dread the label of unoriginality like a curse. We deride the derivative. 2 Luis Barragán's Zaha Hadid's"emotional architecture" 520 West 28th condo building in New in recreated York model nears photographs completion I believe this sneering snobbery of derivation is deeply flawed and at odds with the potential of 3 BIG creates museum by carving channels into dune by architecture as a collective Nazi war bunker creative force. call us gentrifiers – just don't call us copycats. A recurring pastime of the Dezeen reader commentariat is the calling out of designs for being "unoriginal" or "copies". Call us 1 10 of the most ground-breaking uses of plywood in architecture and design dull. remixes or otherwise. Rather than shaming the copyists. spinoffs. almost every artistic industry benefits . says Winy Maas in defence of architectural cover versions. we fear facsimiles. ironically. call us sellouts. This addiction to novelty is. 'Across architectural culture we dread the label of Agathom builds artist's cabin in unoriginality like a curse' remote British Columbia woodland Call them reboots. IKEA popular recent hacks or the latest gossip engulfing Bjarke Ingels.

such as The Beatles' Eleanor Rigby. In theatre. Alfred Hitchcock even remade his own 1934 film The Man Who Knew Too Much two decades later. Terry Gilliam's 1995 Twelve Monkeys famously remade Chris Marker's 1962 La Jetée. In music. Sergio Leone's A Fistful of Dollars was a cover version of Kurosawa's Yojimbo – itself based on Dashiell Hammett's 1929 Red Harvest.from the established and fruitful notion of the cover version. with directors constantly reworking centuries-old scripts in innovative ways. a culture of covers is arguably the bedrock of the industry. In film. Are we really so smug as to believe all these disciplines are inferior to our own for their willingness to riff upon the work of others rather than conceive everything from . Always on my Mind into one of the most enduring pop anthems of the 80s? Some songs. Who could have Brilliant Willing anticipated what warbling heights Jeff Buckley would take Leonard Cohen's rather hymnal rendition of Hallelujah to? Or that the Pet Shop Boys could transform an obscure American country number. ballet and most orchestral music. often bringing new David Rockwell designs dimensions that the originals minimalist lighting for Rich lacked. cover versions are at the very core of how artists respect and build upon the work of their peers. have been covered hundreds of times across the globe. How many Patrik Schumacher explains his different curtains around the future plans for Zaha Hadid world will open on Hamlet alone Architects this evening? A similar point could be made of opera.

999 of those petrol Subscribe stations remain derelict. Take. who within a few years won the Turner Prize. "the project was an experiment for the wider reuse of the UK's 4. Were another practice to now create a version of the cinema in another town. Assemble's 2011 Cineroleum. if proved viable. for example. six years on 3. Gonzalo Iturriaga's blackened which turned a derelict petrol pine cabin provides refuge for a station into a curtained outdoor Chilean mountaineer cinema. launching the careers of its designers. it can even kill promising ideas dead in their tracks. It's hard to think of a more successful trial – the Cineroleum achieved huge media acclaim. Even Assemble couldn't create another Cineroleum without .scratch? 'Rather than shaming the copyists. they'd instantly be shot down as ripoffs or wannabes. According to Assemble's website. What went wrong? Perversely. Yet despite this categorical proof of concept. could potentially be rolled out across the nation in a wave of regenerative low-cost cultural spaces. architects should instead urgently rally to the cause in defence of architectural cover versions' Our distain of copying not only robs architectural practice of potential avenues for creativity. it was the very success of the Cineroleum that stifled it. Here was an idea which.000 empty petrol stations".

Ban has used cardboard tubes on everything from bridges to cathedrals. Provided they are kept dry. Rather than see the tubes go to waste he deployed them as a building material. They were leftover packaging from a shipment of rolled-up fabric screens. The exposure with which we reward good ideas in Subscribe to architecture is maddeningly also the death knell for those ideas our newsletters catching on. Ban first dabbled with tubes in a 1986 exhibition of Alvar Aalto. the Annica and Marie Eklund tubes perform exceptionally – transform Bolon into glamorous cheap to produce. Why then. Since then. Related story Music industry to blame Email for attitudes Sign me up! towards design copies. easy to replace. most known for his buildings constructed from giant cardboard tubes. design brand a negligible embodied energy with five times the tensile strength and more than half the compressive strength of Portland cement concrete. given the .accusations of being lazy one-trick ponies. consider Pritzker Prize-winning Japanese architect Shiguru Ban. says Eames Govaert and Vanhoutte create Demetrios bachelor pad with underground club near Ghent As another example.

There is much popular rhetoric around drawing a veil over the outmoded (some would say masculine) notion of the architect as lone genius. Any designer who attempted something similar would be shot down as a unoriginal faker. owners must dream up ever more barmy monikers to qualify. Why Kick a Moo Cow and ARRRRR all . OPA's sunken cliffside residence racing has seen horses with name gets go-ahead | Dezeen such as Odor in the Court. We often tell ourselves that the idea of untainted original thought is a fantasy. Cardboard tubes have the demonstrable potential to transform construction practices.abundant availability of this apparent super material. yet because of Ban's repetitional monopoly. are architects not queuing up to specify it? 'We must ask ourselves. But when it comes to the crunch. they remain infuriatingly fringe.000 names currently active. With over 450. As such. we can't help ourselves and the mocking Dezeen reader comments follow with serious consequences. Professional racehorses have such bizarre names because of a rule in the sport which demands they all be unique. is bad originality really preferable to a brilliant copy?' Next story The simple and embarrassing Follow: Search truth is that in the collective mind of contemporary architecture. Ban now somehow owns the very idea of structural cardboard tubes.

In architecture. He is author of the Architecture Sketchbook (2015) and People's History of Woodcraft Folk (2016). delivering a rash of formally new. but ultimately anti- urban hideous skyline baubles reducing city-making to a spectacle of super-size billboard branding gestures while inhibiting the multiplication of good ideas. He is deputy Bernardo Bader Architekten director of the Architecture stands on the edge of a stream Foundation and former deputy editor of the Architectural Review. a design- based debating society which now has chapters in four continents. our comparable obsession with uniqueness drives the endless reinvention of form. is bad originality really preferable to a brilliant copy? Phineas Harper is a critic and Blackened timber house by designer. Our lust for originality is wrecking the city.take jockeys over the finish line. Read more Copying Copyright Opinion Phineas Harper Share and More comment Architecture Interiors Design 4 comments Technology Recommended stories . We must ask ourselves. In 2015 he co- created Turncoats.

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