The job of an architect can be an emotional roller coaster. You get the opportunity to walk with your clients to hear their goals, dreams, and aspirations for their new home (or business), feeling the excitement. Then the fun begins as you translate all the challenges, stretches, and opportunities into a cohesive design. We get to use our analytical side to process the information and constraints and our creative side to create a beautiful and functional design solution. This is architectural design, walking with your client through their dreams, grabbing the parts of the dream that matter the most, and creating a holistic design solution that brings it all together. You invest emotionally in their design as you sculpt their dream home, and when you get it right, you feel joy.
We recently designed for clients that had a very specific vision for their dream house. Their vision was centered around how they wanted to feel in the space that is sacred to them. Yes, they had some very specific aesthetic goals as well, but merging those aesthetic goals with a sense of softness and modesty was key to the final design. Working through the process we found an architectural language to define spaces and captured the right feel. We walked with our clients on their land, listened to their hopes and dreams, gathered inspiration, discussed goals, and developed a design concept. We absorbed their emotional connection and goals, developed the design concept, gathered feedback, and modified – multiple times.
Once we had the right feel of space, we started working through the building science implications. The design demanded delicate details to achieve the right finished product. While designing with empathy is an important tool we use on a regular basis, a focus and understanding of building science, structural design, and material knowledge allow us to create beautiful, durable, healthy, and energy-efficient buildings.
This idea of creating / designing dream homes (businesses) can be challenging because dreams tend to continue to unfold as opportunities can better be seen (first draft of the floorplan) and room sizes and shapes start to form. As an architect you are often the one left to remind everyone involved that there is a budget that goes along with the dream. You are the one that has to break their heart when the budget doesn’t match the dream. You act as the sounding board for ideas, bringing your own and evaluating others. Years of experience, training, education, and trial and error feed your sense of design.
While I have heard many times that someone has an “eye” for design, there is no replacing years of experience and knowledge. The process of design relies on a “feel” for the right solution. It requires an emotional investment to get it just right. Sometimes you are in a state of joy and sometimes you are struggling to hit a budget emotionally strained.