What does an Architect do, anyway?

“Every great architect is – necessarily – a great poet.  He must be a great original interpreter of his time, his day, his age.”  -Frank Lloyd Wright

Have you ever noticed how things just “work” in some houses?  There’s a flow; a rhythm.  An indefinable quality that just feels right.  That feeling – that ceremony of experience – is the result of the architect’s hand.

An architect not only has to consider the functionality of the structure, he (and here’s where he departs from the builder) has to consider one’s experience of the space.  An architect strives to develop a design that not only meets standard building codes and serves a practical purpose, but also inspires their clients, while solving their lifestyle and program needs.

“All architecture is shelter, all great architecture is the design of space that contains, cuddles, exalts, or stimulates the persons in that space.”  – Philip Johnson

On a daily basis, it’s not always easy to experience great architecture.  With strip malls, McMansions and builders’ spec projects around every corner, it seems we’re forgetting and forgoing what used to come standard; the architect’s touch.  Every great era has made a statement in architecture – some impressive and foreboding others delicate and whimsical.  So the question is: what statement are we making?  Instead of working with architects to craft a home that suits our individual needs, we instead turn to builders who give us cookie-cutter construction with few options and little customization.

Unfortunately, in these standard structures, very little thought is given to the experience of the space – that feeling that washes over you when you enter and that you’ll remember long after you leave.  The decline in thoughtfully planned homes means we are exposed less and less frequently to eloquently designed spaces.  We think “bigger is better” and that we really want a development home with brick façade and large window (highlighting a chandelier) over the front door.  But the truth is, we don’t recognize what we’re missing.  We do have the option and deserve well-designed homes.

In truth and tradition, homes are meant to reflect the lifestyle of their inhabitants.  Any good architect knows that a house is so much more than the sum of its parts.  It’s not just about creating a 4 bedroom, 2.5 bath dwelling, it’s about creating a home; a matchless structure that embodies both the needs and ideals of its inhabitants.

“A great building must begin with the unmeasurable, must go through measurable means when it is being designed and in the end must be unmeasurable.”  – Louis Kahn

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3 Responses to What does an Architect do, anyway?

  1. Karena says:

    A truly fabulous home!! The light, the windows, the waterfall, stunning!

    Come and Enter my $200 Giveaway from Fifi Flowers!

    Art by Karena

  2. Pingback: Design inspiration | Fine Arts at Langara

  3. That house is beautiful, and the waterfall is breath taking as well! Architectures deserve every dime they get.

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