I read “Between Silence and Light” by Louis Kahn, the Architect of the Salk insatiate in San Diego. It inspired some thoughts; as a good book should.
I kept thinking on what I would really like to be doing as an architect in my 60’s. As with Louis I believe there is a heart to every site and building. If not, then how does the space deal with humanity? Architecture as an art is compared to music. Enhancing civilization and the human experience is what real architecture is about. I do accept the fact that most buildings are not real architecture. Mot building, about 80%, does not have an architect working on them. Those are developer based and seldom have the human experience as part of their program. As Louis noted, it is ok for architects to work on only 5% of the built environment. That leaves a lot of opportunity to create great built environment experiences.
To me architecture is all about humanity even while digesting and achieving a client’s goals. High end or not this is achievable. As an Architect, I am always looking for the next great project. One where I can use all my intuition and experience to create something wonderful. This is not from the outside looking in, but from the actual requirements, the function of each space, proximity, materials used, government restrictions, budgets, and so on. As we age the unfinished or unrealized opportunities are what one dreams of. History has documented that most architects only start getting into their prime after 50 years old. The most famous architects are now above 75 years old. Know, defining, implementing the Spirit of Architecture is what I what to accomplish. There are always a few projects I have the opportunity to service that allows for this kind of thought, time, and follow up. Those keep me going as an architect. As for the business, without the internal resources my office has, it acts as the spring board to the few true architectural projects we all dream of. Our experience continues to grow, especially if you love the process. Designing meaningful spaces, inventing new aspirations, enriching someone’s life is what Architecture is all about. “What does a building want to be”? Reverence to space and culture is to be respected. Design needs an order. The order comes from ones intuition, experience, and the client’s main goals. The architect then synthesizes all the information and in visions a spacial relevance to be used for a design. This is then supported by specific materials and details based on what the material want to be. You can feel it, in spirit. There is no need to remodel the building because it is 10 years old and out of fashion. It is designed as timeless. Humanity and the reverence for each building material, whether Cradle to Cradle design, incorporated or not, carries the day. The structure of order keeps the integrity of design on a straight path. Stay true to the order and the design will work out great. Trust in your decision making abilities. Trust your architect. Choosing your architect is a major decision and treat it that way. The outcome of what you are doing is in their hands.
There is a “natural order to the design process”, which involves the integration of many issues. As Kahn said “This progressions is body, mind, society, and spirit, the attributes of the whole human being. A great building must serve each of these well and be a means for the integrating them”. Love the spaces you live and work in. Enjoy light and dark, low and high, the opening and closing of space, material, texture, color. Designed spaces should allow for flexibility in the changing world. Does the space work to enhance your individual humanity and assist in the efficiency of your activities? Efficiency gives you freedom. Freedom is the number one aspiration for humanity, life, safety, and welfare are the covenants for architects to follow. Each one represents issues around humanity!