our view on architecture – part i

beyond sketching facades and adding elements to walls, columns, rooftops, etc to give them visual appeal there’s actually a much greater aspect to the discipline of architecture that is more often than not completely overlooked. to get a fundamental understanding of what an architect’s objectives should be, we sometimes need to take a giant step back and ask ourselves, what is an architect’s job?

space – it is everything in architecture, it’s all we need to be concerned with. in fact, all an architect needs to be able to do is, define spaces. of course, a good architect is an architect who can bring form and function to a given defined space. sounds simple? yes, it probably is, or at least it should be but so are most things in this world that get botched. in defining your spaces, we have several considerations, these include functional considerations, technical considerations, legal considerations, and of course, aesthetic considerations – all of which equate to absolutely nothing without first having a thorough understanding of the requirements. what requirements?

the project requirements (your requirements) – the art of analyzing, interpreting and compiling requirements is the first stage of any project, of any kind, of any discipline, anywhere on earth (and even beyond, we’d so assume). an architect’s first job is to listen, to ask the right questions, and to understand the answers to those questions. arrogance is no virtue in this process, be it the best architect in the world. without understanding your requirements entirely, an architect does not possess the necessary information to successfully “define your spaces”. in addition to understanding your requirements, the architect will also need to survey your piece of land. photo’s won’t do, neither will your personal descriptions – the architect will need to go to your site (preferably with you), to stand on your land, to inhale every attribute, every detail, every opportunity and every limitation that your piece of land offers. once the architect has a thorough understanding of your requirements and has performed a site survey, they’re now ready to start..

defining spaces (your spaces) – spaces are funny things. they have a tendency of defining or at least being a big part of almost every experience we have in life. why? well it’s simple. we live in spaces, we work in spaces, we play in spaces, we relax in spaces. simply put, we exist in spaces. that makes an architect’s role pretty important, as it’s your architect that you’ve entrusted to design the space in which you and / or another is going to live. most architects will start by mapping out your spaces as zones – an indicative roadmap for the entire design of your home – and in doing so, two things need to be at the forefront of their mind – your requirements and your land. zones are important as they provide a high level guideline as to where the different types of spaces in your property should be located – types of spaces include parking, entrances, common areas, living areas, secluded and private areas. zoning within your property may change as the design is furthered or refined, but establishing zoning is a necessary first step. many architects will approach zoning with the commonly held belief that visitors entering your property should have to pass through an entrance and then common areas such as gardens and foyers before reaching your living areas. the most private areas of a home, the bedrooms are generally zoned away from the entrance. parking for example will be influenced by the best points of road access, while living areas will be influenced by requirements you have given your architect. for example, if your property offers second floor views, would you like your living area to have the view, your bedrooms to have the view, or both? should bedrooms be secluded from living areas or easily accessible? without knowing your living preferences, an architect will at best be making educated guesses about these important factors; not a great way to get started in designing your dream. from zoning, the next logical step is… your layout (to be continued..)