The will of the architect

A lot of times when I look at the buildings that get built in flashy magazines I think to myself, “that looks great, but would I live in it?”

Sometimes in their craft architects tend to force ever minimalistic forms and interiors upon their clients. All for the sake of purity or clarity. Which is just their way of capturing something which they believe is beautiful.

The term “less is more” comes to mind here. (as well as it’s evil twin brother response “less is a bore”)

Now to architects this is all well and good. And within the profession they might receive hurrahs and praise from their peers.

But what about the client?

They might have an appreciation for the design that they’ve received. Maybe they even asked for it. But is it really livable design?

That’s something that only they can answer, having to live with it 24/7.

Should they change the way they live their life to accomodate a program that is dictated to them by the sheer will of the Walls that now envelope them physically? Or should they have rather obtained a building that complements and accomodates (literally) their living patterns and habits?

I’m beginning to lean towards the latter at the moment. Not everyone wants a Barcelona pavilion to live in (ala Mies) or a villa savoye (corbusier). Both of these architects were famous and applauded for the simple forms of their buildings almost at the expense of everything familiar and comfortable in a house.

I believe, on the other hand, that whilst architects are clearly more capable planners and designers than joe-everybody, it does not mean that they know everything. Architecture should be about designing a building that is so specific to the needs of the client that they can never get it anywhere else and they absolutely love the house they’re living in.

This requires some observation skills about the client, do they love to cook?  how do they live?  are they late night people, early risers, neat-freaks or thrive on organised chaos?  These are some of the things that architects should take note of because it can greatly benefit the design of building of a house.

Enough with the ‘will of the architect’ being stronger than that of the client.  I’m fed up with all that bull-shit.  Architecture is a human centred craft.  Take the humanistic values out of it and all you have left is an empty box.


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