It surprises people when we say it; apparently, it’s not what an architect is expected to assert. It usually comes up at the very first meeting with potential clients and it’s always a great test of compatibility.
We don’t know what your project is going to look like.
And it’s true. Architecture is an adventure; it requires research, investigation, exploration and discovery. And until we sink our teeth into a project, until we get into the data of the building code, the owner’s programmatic requirements, the site conditions, and everything else that becomes evident on the journey of design, we don’t really know what the project will look like. Before we can imagine what a project will look like, we first need to figure out what the project is doing.
To some potential clients, this is very exciting: the idea of going on an adventure is engaging and fosters a true creative design process. In many cases, this philosophy of design is one of the primary reasons that we’re hired. Now and again, though, a potential client reacts with apprehension or even skepticism. This is usually a good sign that we’re not the best fit for the project.
The notion that an architect should have a premeditated vision of what a new project should look like from the get-go might be the fault of folklore. Or perhaps it’s the overblown sensationalism of starchitecture, who’s authors show up to the site for the first time and conjure a whole and complete architectural vision. And maybe that’s the way a starchitect works, or maybe it’s story-telling exaggerated over the years. It’s hard for us to say because we just don’t work that way.
For us, form is rediscovered with each project. Each design is a response to all of the factors unique to a situation. We love the thrill of a new journey, and the unknowns are what get us up in the morning, excited to tackle the day’s work. We’re never sure where we’re going to end up; this is invigorating and at the same time provides solace.
So today’s post is an appreciative nod to the adventure of architecture and a grateful cheers to the clients who are always up for the leap of faith into good design.