Architecture, at least for me, is much more than design and construction. To me it is about cherished dreams, hidden desires, expected feelings. It is about learning to know people, discovering their secrets, becoming their confidant.
Whenever I start a new project, I delight in this first research phase, in which the most important thing is the conversation with the clients. To stop time for a while and listen, not just the words they have to say, but the tone of their voice, their facial expressions, the emphasis placed on certain words. These details are key to the future project. Learning to discover those little secrets that, in many cases, not even the clients know they have, is essential for any designer.
The architect must be more than just an interpreter; we should not be limited to the words the clients say. The architect must go further, must enter the most profound part of the psyche of the clients to discover their deepest secrets, because it is there, in the depths, where all the answers are.
And, from my point of view, it is in residential projects where this is more evident. It is in the dream house of every person, where all the hidden desires are immersed. It is there where all these unanswered questions that roam in the minds of every being are. Countless questions that the architect must learn to answer, sometimes even before the client.
For me, that is the greatest thing about the architecture and residential projects. Deciphering mysteries, decoding clues, interpreting emotions, and then looking at them translated into a building.
Every residential project I have done is a unique and unrepeatable translation, because it is made in the particular language of the client. Only those who inhabit the house are actually able to communicate with it and completely understand it. There is no need for the clients to make improvised interventions with the intention of appropriating the house, because it is theirs from the moment in which they dreamed with it.
We must learn to see beyond what we have in front of our eyes, to listen more than just what sounds in our ears. That is the perfect way for us architects to honor this beautiful profession.
Initially posted on Architect Antony DiMase´s design journal http://bit.ly/aSGSDd (guest post)