Good design and how it relates to smart building skins

The discussion of the trend toward complexity verses simplicity lead me to think about smart envelopes in buildings that have some function or even multiple functions. Striving toward simplicity is the best answer to developing technology, but that does not mean that society should not push and challenge what is already in existence. Technological advancements vtend to usually be complex at first but with further development and increased smart design, these things may become simple. Good design incorporates many design ideas in an elegant way that may have complex thought and initial complex manufacturing or assembly, but overall good design is simple.

Take for example a knife set. The simplistic and common way for knifes to be stored is in the typical wooden knife box with slits for each knife. A designer considered how this could be achieved in a better way. A simple mindset would be to think, “why should something so insignificant be tampered with? It works so why fix something not broken?” What many people who are not designers do not realize is that something may appear to be functioning alright, but it is not the optimal solution. The optimal solution may take into consideration space usage for example. Take the “Meeting Knife Set.” According to the Looks feels works website, “The Meeting Knife Set is practical, durable and a work of art. Each knife nests within the set.” This design incorporates several design requirements of a knife set: the presence of multiple knives, in this case 4, and a knife holder.  The difference between this knife set and another is that the knives stack into each other, so therefore this design eliminates a bulky wooden block for a slim and compact alternative.

These design ideas relate to buildings just as well. Buildings and building envelopes should reflect multi-purpose uses in a smart way. This method should include a variety of functions like sustainability, indoor environmental quality, outdoor environmental quality, aesthetic, and other possible considerations depending on the context. The skin is an integral part of the body, as it should be of buildings. It works also with the body and with the surroundings as should a building skin also. A building skin should behave as a human skin. It protects the body under the skin, heels itself, keeps out harmful bacteria and infection, and controls the temperature. All of these ideas, along with intelligent design can create a smart building envelope that can hold up to being called a “skin.”


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