• Grant

Your chance to shine

Well you’ve made it through my rant about what’s not right, so how can we do it right.

Firstly I’m going to put in a caveat here on the following writing, as there are only two types of building design solutions in this Country, firstly there is Architecture, and then there’s the other stuff!

We are talking about Architecture here.

“Architecture”, apart from the obvious basic objectives already addressed, like practicality, context, sustainability, durability and safety. Has much more to offer us than first perceived.

There is also the way that Architecture can make us feel about ourselves, how we experience our lives, how we express ourselves within our own environment and how we interact with the immediate environment around us from this private space. The way it can assist our interaction with our families and friends, and the way it can be a sanctuary from the outside stresses and strains of the modern world. The way we can control the way we interact to the rest of the world using this Architecture as a tool to invite or protect ourselves and our families. A well-conceived well developed design can both fit like a custom tailored designer suit, while feeling comfortable like your old favourite armchair.

It can also nourish our souls and our desires. It can announce the desires we want to shout out and whisper those traits we want to keep private. All this can be woven into the fabric of the Architecture. I totally believe good design can enhance our lives both mentally and physically bettering our own health and the health of those around us – Biorealisim: Ref: Survival by Design: Richard Neutra 1954.

Answer this, if you’re building you have a choice, why not live or work in a beautiful space?

“Architecture is inhabited sculpture” quote: Constantin Brancusi

If a house or a work space only had to meet those initial basic criteria’s, i.e., we are dry, warm and secure. We could all live/work in dry shipping containers with front doors and be happy – right? After all it meets all those basic points. I don’t know of many who would agree with this, but I am also stunned by how many don’t require the bar to be lifted far from this silly example by just adding a couple of dormer windows and some tile – a bit scary!

But I believe we need more, particularly in the modern busy world that we are surrounded by.

Have you noticed that although we have better, faster and greater technology in our lives to make our lives easier and free up quality time from our busy lives? We are in fact more and more unable to remove ourselves from this technology to focus on the quality of our lives and all this free time that we apparently now have!

Modern life is so busy, technology makes us so accessible 24/7, why not help yourself and your family by creating a space to escape this “rat race”, a place to soothe your soul and replenish your sanity and to enjoy each other’s company. When I ask my clients at our initial concept meetings, do you want to live in a beautiful home that is like your own private spa like sanctuary, or just another house? Funnily enough none choose the second option. So the desire is there, we just need to know how to find it and achieve it.

Now this is not a far-fetched fantasy, most of us already do know how find it and how to get it. Think about the last time you went on a holiday? Wasn’t the most important part of that experience the time to escape the pressures of everyday life, to re-charge your batteries while in a relaxing calming environment that makes you feel at peace and removed from the stress?

So we do know how to do this thing then!

My question is, why not create this feeling around us, all of the time?

No, Architecture is not going to solve all life’s problems, but if it can make you feel more relaxed and calm most of the time, perhaps those problems won’t seem that big of a deal?

Another financially prudent fun fact. Why do you need to go on holiday, if everything you seek and desire is right there? You just saved money!

I find that most people get this mantra right initially, at our design meeting and they grasp this life concept, but then those pure thoughts are contaminated after they leave our conversation by what they perceive society expects them to want or expects them to aspire to have in their new home or lifestyle. I don’t know how many times I’ve presented a concept scheme to a couple that totally answers and exceeds all of their expectations, and who are totally in love with the solution presented to them, leaving the office gushing about this amazing result. Only for them to table at the next meeting, that Joe and Sally Smith (their best friends) said that the kitchen should be next to the garage to make it easier to unload the shopping from the car, because that’s what “they did” when they built and that’s an important point to buyers, when you go to sell it.

I know this is a silly example (but it does happen regularly) and the main point of concern really is that these clients are now considering compromising their specifically expressed desires based on a friends FREE advice, all the time ignoring the advice they have PAID a design professional to provide and the PAID design the professional created, based solely on what they all had discussed previously and that they claimed was their dream? Second point, if the home, space or building meets all your desires and dreams, why would you be worrying about selling it?

Now I’m not saying ignore all advice from friends, family and colleagues, but learn to listen carefully and learn to filter this advice. Learn to ascertain where the advice is coming from and objectively look to see if it does really fit with your situation and particularly why this advice has been given.

By the way, the real reason Joe & Sally Smith have their kitchen next to the garage is because the builder/plumber suggested to the building company that the kitchen next to the laundry in the garage would be easier to plumb out, it was quicker and easier to do, while making the bottom line better for all of them.

Forget about the fact that the outdoor dining spaces beside the pool are all on the other side of the house facing the Northern sun. Now Sally and Joe know that you entertain extensively in summer by the pool, as they are often there, but lose sight of the fact that you prepare the food in the kitchen and then will have to carry it out of the kitchen around the dining table down the hall, then through the living room to the deck dining area by the pool, when you could just serve out of the kitchen next to the pool area while keeping an eye on the kids swimming at the same time!

Oh and they can justify this suggestion because…………………’s closer to unload the groceries from the car to the kitchen!

Note – sometimes people who give advice like this, do this to either justify what they have chosen to do or what they had to accept because it was there when they arrived and it wasn’t financially feasible to change it.

More next month………Remember Art for Living!


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