Ok guys I guess I will throw myself into the fire. On Monday when I read David's comments about Res Arch Mag and the current awards, Vitruvius (read DaVinci he corrected the "Man"), and Duo's CORA post, I was going to write that I miss the days of heated debates : the controversial Architectural Record Houses (2011); David's fire and passion, and the traditional vs. modern issue. I said to myself: "geeze", things have mellowed a bit , and Duo loosing a commission for being too modern?, whats this world coming to. I was even going to complain about Duo's : "tweener's", and just simply say give us "aesthetic moderates" a better name. I believe he certainly hit on it, It's neither "Mod" nor "Trad" but about context, clients, budgets, and throw in a bit of innovation and exploration.
Of course I got side tracked for a few days and nights and never wrote down these thoughts, and then today I caught up on the continued dialog and as I sit here sketching a proposed addition to a 1920's traditional house,
(yes I get them once in a while), I thought, well this is a pleasure, the existing home ( though not perfect ) has a simple wonderful scale, minimal trim, a frankly is quite sophisticated. So with my clients program in hand, I clearly understand my goals, my limits, and my responsibilities. Will I push it a bit, for sure, the existing home lacks natural light and I would like to improve upon that for the new addition(s), (after all, Lou Kahn's books are sitting right behind me), but I will be very respectful of conditions this beautiful house imposes on me.
Why am I mentioning this, ( when I should be drawing, the presentation is due Saturday ), well its just that when designing a new home I dwell for days, weeks, sleepless nights, searching for a direction, an idea, a spark, the thread that will weave together all that stuff,( you know: context, client, budget, innovation, throw in sustainability,and OK David, delight!)
. Whenever I start a new home I take a deep breath, here we go again, another 2 years years married to my clients, I will nurture them, be their shrink, their accountant, their marriage councilor, maybe even watch their dog. I will fight with the local ARB,DOB, DEC, and I so look forward to working with the contractors: crying, complaining, charging and charging. We as architects take on a huge responsibility and liability, all with modest ( at best ) compensation. What do I ultimately get when the dust settles and the cork pops?, well usually new friends, and incredible satisfaction. Satisfaction, not of getting published, but that I persevered, I held on, and my clients appreciated that I did and then thank me (us) ( I shouldn't forget about my wife and design partner ) for creating a wonderful home that enriches their life.
My wish is that regardless of stylistic preference, that we as a profession ( at least residential designers), do not give up the ship, take on that responsibility, be considerate of our environment, don't let the business and process wear us down, and endeavor to create " a home, the best home
". Lets leave the theory's, the debates to the Frampton's and Kriers' of this world, and I guess go back to sketching, thats what I am going to do.
A good evening to all.
Stuart Narofsky AIA
New York NY
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