Everyone loves when new project is conceived. The designs that are imagined in collaboration with an Architect and an Owner is magical – it is one of the rare opportunities in life when we have some control about creating something meaningful. An architecture project offers hope and meaning to a world filled with complexity, anxiety and chaos.
When a project is developed there is a sense of hope that the world will be a better place. Great architecture allows people’s lives to change for the better addressing the programmatic needs of the client while offering beautiful, harmonic spaces for the occupants.
When an Architect envisions a space for a client, they are taking a wish and making it a reality. The new spaces that make up the built work will become treasured by those who are able to experience it. The building itself will shape the lives of the occupants and allow them to do the things they could not before. Great architecture is more than just a shelter or a place that addresses the client’s need. Great architecture transcends time and space and connects us in various ways: literally connects us in real time when using the space but also interacts with the occupants as experiences are etched into the memory of the building. There is a feeling you get when you are in a great building. It is difficult to describe but the space itself is more than the sum of its parts. It is a spiritual experience. An example of such a building for me is the Guggenheim Museum by Frank Lloyd Wright or the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts by Frank Furness.
Experiencing these buildings on various occasions exemplifies how Architects can design buildings in a way that epitomizes hope. There are two definitions for hope: (1) a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen and (2) a feeling of trust. Indeed, experiencing these spaces and many others the occupant does have a strong desire for something to happen and there is a feeling of trust that something will happen. When visiting these special places, it is easy to see that designing architecture of hope allows the visitor a chance to experience a space that otherwise would be unexciting and humdrum.
When starting out on a project it is important to address this inherent desire to create someplace distinctive and extraordinary by thinking about how we as great Architects can live up to the desires and hope of our clients, even when they may not clearly see or sense the hope in the vision they are trying to construct. Our jobs as Architects is to offer hope to our clients through our exceptional and distractive skills, blending art and science and craft when practicing Architecture. If we can do this then we can create an Architecture filled with hope.
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When I think of the “flow” of a space the first image to come to mind is the motion of the occupant and how he or she experiences the space. Of course the building itself (and/or site) can have a flow as well (visual flow) both outside with the facade (think strong horizontal/vertical features, or curved forms of aluminum panels for example) or inside with the finishes (think flow of flooring material/texture from one space to another), but to me the perception of the space through movement has a greater impact on the occupant’s perception and experience of the space. If the “space” is correctly designed by someone who understands the flows of a particular building type, it will certainly make for a joyous experience for the occupant. When this not the case the occupant will feel uneasy and will not be able to have a pleasant experience. A seasoned designer will be able to work simultaneously in plan and section to develop a design concept that will result in proper flow for the type of function being asked of the space that he/she is creating. When the layout of the space, the material/textures used, the colors used, the use of light, and the flow of movement of are properly executed the space just feels right.
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Frank Cunha III
I Love My Architect – Facebook
Client: Glasgow City Council
Design Architect: Zaha Hadid Architects
Zaha Hadid Architects have completed the Riverside Museum in Glasgow with a zig-zagging, zinc-clad roof. Housing a museum of transport with over 3,000 exhibits, the building has a 36 metre-high glazed frontage overlooking the River Clyde. The building zig-zags back across its site from this pointy roofline in folds clad with patinated zinc panels. Reminds me a bit of John Hedjuk’s work.
by Frank Cunha III
It seems like when you finally get it right in Architecture, Art, Music, Fashion, etc, you become a “sellout.” So what is Right? How can we get it right? Will anyone know the difference? In the music industry, record companies spend millions studying what kind of music we enjoy. Recently I heard that they have developed a formula for what makes great music whether we consciously agree or not (they call it “musically satisfying”). Is it any wonder we get those cheesy songs stuck in our head? This comes as no surprise in a technologically advanced and transformative world. Could the same be true for Architecture (Architecturally satisfying)?
Like many other Architects, I subscribe to hard copies and digital copies of various Art & Architecture magazines. It’s fun to see all the new and exciting international projects that have been commissioned. It’s also frustrating to see that many of the projects follow some sort of formula – It is easy/difficult to put a finger on it but given an opportunity – Budget, Client, Program, couldn’t we too fudge, I mean design something similar? I remember an old college professor telling us how in his day he had to study / copy the Masters of his day for Architecture School.
I am pretty sure I did not miss class the day they taught the secret formula to creating great Architecture – Which leads me to ask, What is great? I mean, we all have our opinions on the Masters of our day – Good or Bad. What I mean to ask is something that delves deeper. Besides the ability to obtain intellectual clients with extremely high budgets looking for “meaningful” design, how do these high profile Architects / Architecture firms land these clients? Once they figure out this formula is it a matter of fine-tuning it and repeating it?
Although Architecture is filled with Order & Rules (figuratively and literally) should there be a Formula to producing great works of Architecture?
I would think that a world without figurative Order & Rules of today’s contemporary Architecture (that results in the “Same” different Architecture, the same way someone dyes their hair pink or blue to be different, to be like their friends) would result in a more meaningful, natural world of Architecture filled with unique projects emulating real emotion and artfulness. When Architecture (or Music for that matter) begins to repeat these figurative patterns it also eliminates the artfulness of the unknown. The mystery of Architecture is not in the mathematics or science of Architecture but in it’s naïve soulfulness. That is where I believe the true spirit of Architecture resides.