"Most people design rubbish without any formal training"

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Marcel Wanders Revolution Precrafted prefabricated structures Design Miami 2015 dezeen

Comments update: readers weighed into the ongoing debate about whether non-architects should design buildings after Marcel Wanders described the discussion as the "f*cking opposite" of open-minded creativity. Read on for more on this and explore our comments page to keep up to date with the latest discussions.

Marcel Wanders

Designers as architects: Wanders is the latest designer to work on a building project – revealing plans for glass-walled prefabricated houses – but dismissed the argument as a waste of time. Commenters had mixed reactions.

"Rubbish is the type of product that most people design without any formal training," argued regular contributor Spadestick. "All designers, whether architects or industrial designers, need some form of formal training to reach a certain qualitative level of substance."

Others sided with the Dutch designer. "If famous designers get taken on to lend some 'brand' weight to a development, [it is] fine," replied a guest commenter. "How do they deliver a sensible building that complies with code, cost and sustainability requirements? They employ architects." Read the comments on this story »

Spongesuit by University of California

SpongeBob ToxicPants: angry readers criticised a bikini designed to absorb pollution from the sea this week.

"Please don't ask women to wear it and expose their bodies to hazardous chemicals," said one concerned commenter, who went on to suggest it could cause serious health problems.

"Where are the men's trunks made out of this filter fabric?" asked Chad Sutter, while James labelled the pollutant-absorbing bikini as "attention-grabbing and flawed."

However, some commenters foresaw potential uses for the sponge-like material that absorbs oils while repelling water. "Can we extend the application of the material to boats?" wrote JanaRead the comments on this story »

Boncho by Vanmoof

Wet blanket: a poncho designed to protect the wearer and their bicycle from the rain divided opinion after some commenters questioned its functionality.

"Just make sure your bike has fenders, or all that water flipping off the tires will be caught under the tent and distributed to your butt crack and groin," observed regular commenter Chad Sutter. "Whatever happened to a simple rain suit that goes over the clothes?"

Others loved the waterproof garment's minimal design and colour, a compliment that was immediately rebuffed by one guest commenter who said the poncho should've been made in a high-visibility material. Read the comments on this story »

  • M.L.

    Being an architect has never stopped anyone from producing terrible architecture. And being self-trained hasn’t stopped several word-famous architects from becoming mythical. I’m quite happy Gerrit Rietveld didn’t stick to furniture design, and Charles Eames didn’t stick to architecture.

    In this context, it’s interesting to put side-to-side the attempts of Maarten Baas and Piet Hein Eek. Both from Eindhoven, both designers experimenting with architecture, in collaboration with architects.

    You could argue that Piet Hein Eek has always worked at a scale that surpasses furniture. His approach is almost more compatible with the scale of architecture as it is with the scale of objects. In a way, he’s more of an architect (“master-builder”) than the majority of architects. I’m rather delighted to hear him making a serious attempt at architecture and I’m looking forward to his makers-first/detail-first-approach to rehabilitation. He might even break open some rusty doors in the process…

    Maarten Baas, however, is quite the opposite. He might be the perfect example of the cocky watch-me-do-this-without-training approach. He got completely lost at the scale of architecture. The results are terrible, random, passionless, meaningless and irrelevant.

    To me, it’s not a matter of formal training, it’s a matter of competence. It takes practice, sensibility and time for an architect to become a descent designer, or the opposite – or a descent urbanist for that matter!

    The issue is not the guys excelling at something they’ve never been formally trained for. The issue is those cocky enough to get involved in something they have no competence in whatsoever.