I’m a firm believer in the concept that “architecture connects us all” – and it does in a variety of ways. Architectural design is an expression of our culture and it is closely tied to people and their influences and ideas.
When it comes down to it, it is interpersonal interaction that ultimately forms the basis of design.
Architects connect with clients and community
Some of my fondest memories are of rolling up my sleeves with clients, one-on-one or in a group, and watching ideas evolve. As I guide them through the design (and then construction process), it is rewarding to see clients swell up inside and “take ownership” of a space.
When the building is complete, it is equally fulfilling to see them show the same sense of pride as me, knowing that they were an integral part of the design process. They stand proudly watching as the architecture they helped create is used and appreciated.
This collaborative design process often leads to long term friendships with clients and the end-users. Happily, it’s these strong connections that have often linked me to other future clients.
Architects are (or should be) part of a diverse design web spread across disciplines and industries
Much of my practice is in the design of educational facilities and educational design is not static. To make the most appropriate design decisions, I interact with other disciplines to understand how social values and technology impact architecture. Design is often the vehicle for developing respected, long term, interdisciplinary professional affiliations.
These connections have certainly expanded my knowledge base of green and sustainable design, which is a passion of mine; my goal in educational design is to create healthy spaces for living and learning, as well as developing a better understanding in the efficient use of natural resources and environmental stewardship. I can’t do it without connections to a vast network of professionals.
The ties and connections that architecture spurs are more complicated than that between an architect and their client or professional contacts.
Outside of my practice, I can personally attest to the relationship between architecture and the sense of place.
Design certainly has connected me with places, and vice versa. In college, I studied in Versailles, France and was able to see some of history’s most storied architecture. Surrounded by the past, I was transfixed with how the buildings themselves had a personality and how they were woven into the culture. During this time, I was able to travel to Greece, where I stood at the base of the Parthenon, in the same place where (aspiring) architects have stood for thousands of years. The architecture, itself, had a profound effect upon my professional career.
It reminded me that architecture is the stage on which the events of history are played out… and I was on that stage.
I knew that in some way I, too, would be a part of history… connected to it - making an impact on the lives of thousands of people when I became a practicing architect.