How architects influence design
This is a topic of great depth, and could be debated for years at an educational level whilst studying a creative career stream. So the following thoughts are but a mere scrape of the surface, but may assist potential clients who seek an Architect.
It is well known that architects are influencers. Their ideas shape the natural and built environment in which we live, which in turn impacts how we live in the space they’ve designed. Quite a powerful position don’t you think?
There’s plenty of evidence that demonstrates architectural design elements such as light, space, geometry and materials can affect the end-user’s mood, triggering physiological and psychological responses. With people spending an estimated 80-90% of their time indoors over their lifetime, it’s vitally important to get the design right!
Buildings are products of our social and cultural needs and their design is influenced by our beliefs, activities, values and relationships. Functionality is key – the design must work and fulfil the needs of the building’s occupants. It doesn’t matter how visually beautiful a building is, if it doesn’t meet our social and cultural needs, it is virtually useless.
So architects are in a powerful, and potentially dangerous, position. They have the skill base to create designs that influence the end-user and subsequent decisions they make (often in mass numbers). But what influences the architect? And how do they create space that encourages user engagement, inviting them to explore and experience?
First and foremost, an understanding of the occupant should be the primary area of research. The architect and client must have an open, honest and trusting relationship to enable development of a design that meets functionality needs. This process can not be rushed – it needs to be thought out, discussed and debated. It is the outputs of this process that enables the design to evolve and it is in this stage, that the architect wields their greatest influence.
The knowledge and experience amassed by the architect come together to enable them to design a building that balances form and function. But they also draw upon other external influences. The landscape and environment in which the building is to be situated; past and present mentors; current architectural trends; availability of materials and social aspects will all influence the final design. The key is the management of these inspirations to ensure the design meets the end-user’s needs of the end-user and encourages them to connect with it. After all, an client may not be the project’s end user!
This is all easier said than done. Building design is complex with many variables including regulatory and budgetary influences that must be considered. It could be said that even the most skilled architects find it impossible to design the ‘perfect building’. A well designed space has the flexible capacity to adapt to an imperfect and emotionally sensitive living being. It is the successful meshing of both architect’s influence on their client and the client’s trust in the architect’s abilities that aids in achieving this.
I feel that I’ve gone around in circles a little in writing this post but that is how architecture works. We design around social and environmental needs which influence how people function within the built environs and yet, the structures we build are influenced by their occupants.
It is important to know that your experience with Craig Dinte Architects reflects the cornerstones of our business – communication, collaboration and cooperation.