… or why best architects’ work comes for free?
I am often amazed how much time some people are prepared to invest into a buying process of a 20.000€ car. A car that, eventually, in 5-10 year time they would replace with a new one. While on the other hand, when it comes to build a house, with a price tag of the investment ten times higher at least, a house where they would live their dream life, raise their children and spend – maybe – the rest of their time in, that is not always the case.
When with a client it comes to the point, to discuss the price, I often say that to them my service actually comes for free.
Well not free in a way, you do not pay me money for my work. Yes, it is true, I love… No! … I…
For quite some time now, I have been struggling to find a simple, articulated answer to the question “Why?”
What is my purpose on the field of architecture?
Why I choose to become an architect in the first place?
What is the higher purpose of the efforts I put into my work?
Someone might think it is a simple answer.
But I can assure you – it is not!
And another one might think: “Why even bother?”
Well… at his TED talk (http://bit.ly/1pLqrWF), Simon Sinek provides quite good argument about its importance. An entrepreneurs’ icon Richard Branson in his blogs (http://bit.ly/1oYt9sz) refers to this talk again and again – so there probably must be something of value there. But even aside of that… I strongly feel that every one of us, regardless of one’s profession, should find his or her answer to that in order to serve one as…
“In manufacturing and design, a mockup, or mock-up, is a scale or full-size model of a design or device, used for teaching, demonstration, design evaluation, promotion, and other purposes.”
Dimensions could be very deceiving.
While drawing on the paper, it is sometimes really hard to imagine, how some physical dimensions would appear in the 1:1 scale. It is even harder to envision how some elements would look like in composition with some other. And drawing on a computer, with its infinite zoomins and outs, just makes the situation much worse.
Personal first hand experience is probably the only way to successfully handle this problem in advance.
But even the most prominent and experienced architects, shamelessly extensively use mockups and prototypes in order to avoid ugly (and sometimes costly) mistakes.
Studying the mockup of a (almost) horizontal thick version fixed shades.
Fixed horizontal shade mockup glued from…
Oscar Niemeyer loved it.
Le Courbusier adored it.
Frank Lloyd Wright trusted it with his life.
You have probably guessed by now, that I am talking about the CONCRETE.
When discovered, constructions, that were before unimaginable, suddenly become possible. ‘Artificial stone’ that revolutionized the way we build – and with it, it revolutionized architecture as well.
From the very beginning, its raw aesthetics attracted architects and builders.
And regardless of the facts, that the revolution is long since over, the affection toward concrete’s raw beauty remains very much alive.
For a long time I wanted to implement a raw, visible concrete element into some of my building. Nevertheless what I learned was, that in this case it takes four to tango.
A passionate architect, a suitable project, an aestheticaly enlightened client and a contractor willing and capable of making it happen.
Finally all that fell into place with a project of…
There is a story behind every house.
Something, that is the focal point of the project. Something that gives it its character.
A uniques, if you will.
In case of House D there are four, equally strong points, that served me as a fundamental guidelines thru out the design process.
Emphasizing the amazing vistas.
Not to big, not to small.
Now, with the main volumes basically done, some of those House D features are clearly visible.
From the main access road, House D volume silhouette slowly starts to appear thru the nearby orchard.
Regardless of the proximity of the road, an overhanging living room provides high level of intimacy for the inhabitants.
Main entrance is situated behind the U shaped volumes composition in order for the inhabitants to be able to preserve the privacy on the courtyard.
“Which one would you choose?”
I was deep into some small talk, enjoying a relaxed evening with my clients with a glass of delicious red wine in my hand, when the question abruptly brought me back to our initial topic.
Fits into a millimeter.
If everybody has done his homework right prior the construction started, the building process is smooth and pure joy to watch.
With building permit in their hands and all the blueprints done, they have intensified the process of selecting a contractor. With quite some experience in their pocket, they thought it would be an easy job to pick one – the best one.
They did their homework to filter the potential contractors down o a manageable number of about seven.
An exemplary tender has been prepared for them.
Each has been granted a full access to the architect (me) in order to resolve…
Many people, friends, prosperous clients,… are asking me, why I use the term “SLOW ARCHITECTURE”.
It is simple.
I found out, that for a creative process I need TIME.
Plenty of it, in fact.
Sometimes, an inspired-by-a-moment sketch on the napkin, is all it is needed. But most of the times it is all about endless test & trials… or extended periods of nothingness…
Beautiful architecture, fantastic construction details, pleasant people…
Just returned from the study trip to Liechtenstein and Austria’s Vorarlberg and I am still felling overwhelmed by everything we have seen. Trip was organized by CIPRA (International Commission for the Protection of the Alps) to, through exemplary cases, popularize sustainable buildings approach.
Austrians, probably due to their forest rich land and long tradition are true masters in wooden constructions. But there are quite some of us in Slovenia, architects, constructors and builders alike, that have committed ourselves to sustainable building. And we are prepared to study, to learn,… and to work hard. And I’d say we are catching up.
Since I recon, that photos I made, would tell the story much better than me, I opted for a photo blog this time, share with you some highlights of the trip.
Amazing, ultra modern, Liechtenstein parliament, completely mad of…
“… even when everyone around you tells you that it is fine. You know, deep down inside you, when something is not good enough. And there is only one solution… go back to your drawing board and do it better!”
Sometimes, I have the feeling that Glenn Murcutt cursed me with this sentence. It would have been so easy to give up. So comfortable. So releasing. Let the clients allow to let me off the hook.
But it just doesn’t work.
And so sheets of trace paper are pilling, models are endlessly multiplying…
It must be that I am cursed!
Cursed with a curse so strong… but yet so fulfilling!
Thank you Glenn!
Dear Mr. / Ms. / Mrs.
I am very glad and would like to thank you for considering me to be your architect of choice. There are many architects around, some of them really fine ones, so even that invitation alone, is a great honor and means a great deal to me.
“Reading the land” with the client.
Also, I’d like to emphasize that, based on sparse data you have provided, the project sounds very appealing.
Regarding your request to send you a proposal for my work on the project, I’d say that at this point, I see no real need for that and am therefore opting not to do it… yet.
Since this statement might seem a bit odd to you, let me allow to explain it a bit more in detail.
If you aim to base your decision on price alone – lowest or highest regardless…