Sunday, October 11, 2015

more than meets the eye

People often deride what they perceive as simple things designed by architects, many times with a harrumph and stating "anyone could do that!"

But could they?

To properly design things, you have to know why design matters. It's not aesthetics. Neither is it "structure." Nor is it "function." It's a synthesis of elements including program, site, light, materials and often, feeling. 

Consider the work of Mies van de Rohe. Mies' work, to the untrained eye, looks "simple." Upon closer examination, the simplicity gives way to a complex amalgam of formal rules that guide the placement and material choice of every single element of the building. Through extensive planning, a system develops and creates a work of architecture. 

Architecture is not something that comes solely by chance, by birth, or out of a book. It comes with talent, education and experience. 

Architects don't learn how to design buildings in school. They learn how to see programming, details, materials and their relation to each other, both in context and in the broader environment. 

It's powerful stuff. Distilling it down to something people can use (and pay you to create) is a lifelong challenge. 

So, the next time you see something designed by a design professional, consider the things unseen, not just what you see. There's a lot more to it than meets the eye.