Large urban residences are registries as well as articulations of filial, financial and aspirational value. Catering as much to their inhabitants’ needs as to their whims, they are, simultaneously, spaces of private indulgence as also objects of a more socially motivated aesthetic expression. Little wonder then that the luxurious and the exotic are sought in various ways from their design. As processes of globalised supply and demand, impact construction, fabrication and procurement logistics, greater value seems to be drawn from the extrinsic or exotic in terms of materiality and the machined in terms of form and technology. Systems of architectural production also appear to have cleaved apart the relationships between making and material while form seems to rely heavily on geometries that ease the application of industrially produced and preengineered surface renders. Ironically, the search for the unusual in contemporary urban architecture seems akin to a walk in a “walled garden” of ubiquitous aesthetics.
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