Pre-existent Solutions

The Magic Hammer

Using pre-existent solutions is often scorned by designers as "non-design," but altering a known solution to make it applicable to the current situation is the most common form of creation. It is the normal working pattern of vernacular design, and of many design houses which work on large numbers of almost identical projects.

The technical advantages of these systems are compelling:

  • solutions are highly refined, having been tested and redesigned over years of use and development
  • work is re-used time and again
  • standardisation of parts, materials and tools allows economies of scale to be realised
  • workers become familiar with and efficient at dealing with the solutions
  • communication between workers is facilitated and eliminated, as designs are predictable and uniform
  • To a considerable extent, these technical advantages explain why vernacular architecture and engineering are periodically taken as the ideal to which designers (particularly architects) should work. Over-use of pre-existent solutions, however, is often seen as the major problem facing design today. The glass-tower office building and the suburban house are often parodied by critical architects as the Hades of architecture.

Single-design architectural offices, you are master of the hammer, all is nails

Post-modernist playing with the suburban vernacular house

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Document Name: tc.genorg.gen.hands.crib.hammer.htm
Copyright (c) 1997 -- Mike Fletcher
Reproduction for other than personal use prohibited without express written permission from the author.