Want to know what I think about architecture? Go to this link and you´ll know…
Here‘s the idea behind the interview.
This is one of those essays that has remained resonating in my mind in an eternal connection of situations and elements. There´s no moment in life, after having written this essay that I don´t relate every emotion that I experience with the project I´m working on at the time.
But this network of connections has gone even further; I´ve started to compare or connect my emotions with the way I approach to projects.
For instance, I´ve come to realize that if I´m feeling happy, I tend to let my imagination loose, which usually makes me start the design process using a 3D modeling software. Each volume that manages to get raised above the ground plane reinforces my joy and makes me keep going.
If instead I´m feeling stressed or worried, technology becomes my enemy (or maybe I´m just not able to connect with it), so I usually go back to my origins and grab a pencil and a piece of paper and sink myself in a visceral process of straight and/or curved lines that seem to be trying, through the tracing of each of them, to release and take away all the stress and worries. It almost becomes a therapeutic procedure to relieve tensions.
Now, if the emotion invading me is sadness, I can only function through mechanical work, the one that begins when I press the start button of my laptop and which makes me travel through a series of programed or pre-thought movements that make me slowly enter my psyche, helping me find design intentions and concepts hidden in the most profound places.
There are so many emotions and each of them affects us in distinct ways. Besides, each person is different; every design process is unique and particular but, have you thought about how emotions influence your processes? Have you analyzed the ability of emotions to bring us closer to our most honest, visceral and creative being?…
Many of us, humans, mortals, live our lives with an eternal fantasy in mind. Yes, it´s true, life seems more beautiful in our dreams, but what is the point of dreaming about the perfect place or the perfect life if we are unable to enjoy the life we already have?
The same thing happens with architects and design. We try over and over again, always striving to create the ideal space in which everything works in perfect harmony, but as soon as we introduce the human factor into the equation, failures begin to appear.
Architects spent our entire life dreaming about designing the perfect place, the perfect space, the perfect home. But humans are imperfect beings. So, wouldn´t it be logical to start the process by taking these imperfections, this reality, and designing according to them?
Consider what happens with minimalism in the field of residential projects: we depurate, empty spaces in search of spacial cleanness, which is basically the same as the pursuit of perfection. Imagine a minimalist home: empty, impeccable, flawless… perfect! Now, place a human being in our imaginary house; one which, as all, eats, sleeps, bathes, messes up… the house doesn´t seems so perfect now, right?
Now do the reverse process: Imagine a human being, one who eats, sleeps, bathes, messes up… Follow his/her steps while he/she performs the daily activities. Accompany him/her during day and night. Analyze his/her customs, habits. Discover his/her imperfections…
Now think of how to reduce these imperfections, or better yet, how to make these imperfections a little less obvious, more livable; think of how to make him/her feel at least a little less imperfect.
That’s the ideal house! A house that fits its inhabitants like a glove; one that is capable of molding, adapting according to the needs of those who live it, experience it day after day. One that allows them not having to think, with every step taken, in their flaws and how to correct them; one that allows them to just relax and be. Perhaps for many, this one may not be the perfect house, but for those who make it their refuge, that’s definitely the ideal home.
Architecture, as life, is an equation with many variables and, of course, the result changes depending on which variables are included. Therefore, in the case of architecture, if we only think about design, we would be focusing exclusively on one of many variables.
I recently worked on an industrial project and, as expected, after spending so much time dedicating myself to residential and commercial projects, I had to take a few minutes to change the frequency.
And it was precisely this process of change what made me think of the importance of taking the time to define the variables to be included before beginning the journey of a new project.
Obviously everything is easier when we work on a specific area of design all the time, but in times of crisis such as the one we are facing, we cannot always say no to a project that is out of our area of greatest expertise. In my case, I had worked before with industrial projects, but I cannot say they are my specialty.
Whenever we go from one design area to another, there are some variables that can play tricks on us; in the case of the switch from residential to industrial, scale is usually the most misleading. It is very easy to get lost in a game of huge spaces if we don´t use the necessary tools to understand what we do.
Hence the importance of making a pause to adapt our predetermined minds to a new set of variables and not get carried away by the rush that often drags us *to use an old expression* to the drawing board.
Seizing that rush is important, but it is even more important to begin the processes in the right way so we can avoid, detours along the way…
* This is just for fun*
Designing for minorities can be an extremely challenging task but also a very inspiring one. Disabled people, old people, children, dyslexic, obese, left handed; special people with special needs which are often not given due importance.
Recently, I discovered this video through one of my Google+ contacts
What drew my attention to this innovative design is that, even when it seems to have considered each of these different people with particular needs, it expresses so in a very subtle way.
Most of the time, the designs for these type of people tend to be oriented specifically toward them, so they tend to be exclusive. These designs, even when making this type of people feel like someone is thinking about them and their needs, he or she seems to be someone who thinks there should be a differentiation between them and the rest of the people.
This particular design is the complete opposite of this. It is designed with the mission of unifying, of clustering, blending.
While a person with special needs can feel perfectly comfortable in one of these desks, he/she will not feel different or excluded from the rest. Which, in my eyes, makes this beautiful and practical piece of design, something really special, and it also makes us think; it definitely is an issue to be considered by us architects, who usually focus so much on the spaces that sometimes forget about the people…