We all know there are precedents from which common design elements and
styles were established and then "borrowed from."
However, how much of a design and its expression derived from historial
precedent must and can be considered to establish the design was plaigarized
and built by others when the person's design being plaigarized is itself
derived frrom historical precedents?
How can we possibly establish the meaning and the scope of "how much?" I
know what I was taught in school and in practice about the vocabulary of
architecture but where does plaigarism begin and end?. What would your
criteria be? Could your criteria be substantiated formally or "officially?"
<%= Clinton Gallagher
NET csgallagher AT metromilwaukee.com
Coming up with ideas is the fun part of the job for me. The trickier the
better. Why anyone would cheat themselves of that experience just to get
straight to the working drawings is beyond me.
I've got a proposal out to do limited invitation competition for a difficult
addition to an infill office building ins a chic part of town, and all I can
think about is "I hope I get it", even though I know it's going to be a
major headache... I can't wait to see what I'll come up with.
Reading through this thread, I find myself wondering about this - various
people mentioned "elements", and my question is, How do you make some
elements all that much different from something that's already in
For example, someone wants a dormer. Um, how many different things can you
do to a dormer, and at what point can someone claim "plagiarism" if you
dormer ends up looking exactly like theirs, but only because the house
styles are similar (due to the different clients' similarity in taste),
and, well, heck, it's a *dormer*.
I'm just curious as to where the boundary is before someone else can claim
The whole topic depends on establishing some means of communicating an
actual or presumed infringement. The term "element" has to be defined
somehow by general consensus perhaps but defined in a manner that the word
may be used and understood by others engaged in the discussion.
As best as I've been able to determine an architectural element would be
considered as some distinctive feature which may be considered as a part of
something else or stand alone on its own merit. A smooth column of conrcete
for example lacking any other distinctive characteristics may stand
vertically in space alone in the middle of a field or may stand as one of
many others located equidistant around the perimiter of a circle.
Let's use the latter as a point of discussion; a series of concrete columns
standing in space to define the perimeter of a circle. Do the columns in
aggregate not form a distinctive design element?
It would be a jury that would determine the facts and the jury would need to
be educated about the "elements" of architectural design which comprise a
specific work and how a plaigarist had taken a proposal submitted by someone
else (or a design committed to "paper") and then used the idea and most of
the fundamental elements of the design to create a derived work.
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