Friday, January 27, 2006

Key Learnings: Literal Architects

Long time no post.

I've been busy. We're showing our house in Dallas and should have a contract by the end of the weekend. And, I'm talking to Austin architects and doing some top-level research on lots, builders, and the like. I've already learned a lot.

The primary thing I've learned this week is that, when writing up your program (aka: your basic wants and needs in a build), be mindful of how it will be interpreted.

Here's an excerpt from our written program:

A modern home, reflecting the vernacular, with between 1700 and 2200 heated square feet. We want a sense of classicism and symmetry and a lot of natural light.

A courtyard configuration (or the feel of one) would be ideal. We like a sense of privacy. Water features would be welcome.

The street fa├žade of the home can be fairly simple, conveying a bit of a demure side. The design drama could be contained behind the front entrance, if it were to make sense.

We like a sense of security and solidity. Stone, concrete and/or brick are appreciated. We respond to traditional, vernacular materials used in modern ways. We insist on sloped roofs with deep overhangs, and outdoor entertaining spaces.

While I think that this overview in our program is vague enough to be interpreted in many different directions, some folks are quite literal.

One architect (who shall remain nameless) said to me, "Your project budget won't allow for a stone exterior. I think your program is far too lofty for your budget". And that, pretty much, was that.

And while we do have budget constraints, what we were hoping for is an architect who can take our wish list and provide thoughtful, economical solutions to our program outline. Someone who is willing to say, right off the bat, "You can't do that, but you could do this".

We see this as a process, and our program is a starting point, not a manifesto.

So, when you start putting thoughts on paper, be mindful of how they might be interpreted. Or, make sure that, if you are a literal person, you end up with a literal architect. And vice versa.

And maybe that's really the key learning....

It really is important that personality and communication styles between architect and client are simpatico. Right from the very start.

Later I'll post more on how we've narrowed our list.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

8:38 PM  

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