subtle plagiarism

All architects seek inspiration in the act of design. Some seek it in style and others in theory, it stems from our instinctive need for some frame of reference. Mostly, we are moved by and drawn to originality, the expression of singular thought and that commonly believed to be found in published work. Due primarily to the speed and proliferation of published architectural material, architects have begun to gauge and to be gauged themselves with reference to the publishing eye; we too often aspire to an international fraternity of the avant garde, to design staples of a formal paradigm. Being drawn to what has been deemed good by virtue of inclusion, we often relive the strength of published form in our work; we subtly duplicate the aesthetics of form that has already been realised, believing it to be our own. Subtle plagiarism is the act of engaging in the context of duplicating originality or taking ideas of form in part or in whole as our own, with neither a proper understanding of the processes behind those forms nor acknowledgement of the copied source.

There is a deeper frame of reference for form that is called place specificity: it is the context of our own originality. When one chooses to draw from place and specific context, the search for inspired form becomes irrelevant, as it is replaced by a search for process: originality is the discovery of a process which creates the possibility of new form. An original act of design is not a balance between subtle plagiarism and being creative about form; on the contrary, the originality of an outcome or form depends almost entirely on the processes of its response to its specific context.



steel entry mat

gardenshell house

system shelves

slat door

monsoon mailbox

louvrebox house


gardenwall offices

timberblind door

a/c jacket

middleearth door

lightwell house

posttensioned stair

dining table #3


gardenshade shed

onion valet

britishindia offices

archiebunker chair

folding gate

bathshelf #2


safari roof house

timber table

brickwall house


autopsy table

folded stair



boardformed pool

ventblock house


pittsburgh desk

dogconcrete house



bricklite house



black and white house

cantilevered gate

mule system workstation


sibu pavilion

scrapwood pool

concretecarpet stair

fire stairfence


perforated bench

radiator railing


boardformed house

steel & white bath



barnstorm house


gnarly house

Kvadrat chaise

stacked club

mountain pool

greensplice house

threshold house

gainer mailbox