Sunday, 15 August 2010

Day 227, on which John discusses architecture [15.8.10]

Dag to hundrede syveogtyve. I've had a very, very good day today. I had an idea for a MOC last night, prompted by my Denmark visit and Zack's interior. It's my best MOC to date, a large modern house intended for the Copenhagen suburb of Ishøj. It's got crazy architecture, an 'inferred garage' (you'll have to wait and see) and a fully detailed interior. Booya. I can't wait to show it to you, but I don't think photos will do it justice. I may have to do a Nnenn-style schematic.

I thought I'd chat for a bit about architecture. It's been very important to this latest MOC of mine, and I've started to think about it a lot more. Whilst architecture isn't a career I would go into, it may be something I will delve into in the future. Doing something like Arne Jacobsen would be good: designing a building and all the furniture and details inside it. I love you, Arne Jacobsen. Such a cool dude.

OK, architecture. One thing I found exciting when I built this Ishøj house was how the people interact with it. For me, that's what architecture is all about. You design details in the building that will then be looked at and interacted with by the users for years and years. One simple line on your diagram will mean so much to the user. People own houses for years, so all the features become commonplace to them. An indent in the wall could be where they put a plant pot, or where they stash their lawnmower.

There's something about the everyday use of a house that intrigues me. It's great to think that your house is continuing its use through all seasons. In winter, the users shovel the snow off the road and onto the walls of the house. In summer, they open up the sunroof and open all the windows to cool the interior down.

Then there's the personalisation aspect. Much like my design ethics (see the Crap Filter), it should be clear to see that the house is there to be personalised. Blank concrete walls could either stand on their own as a reflection of the concrete exterior, or be personalised by the user. Making a house a home, as the saying goes. A home is an almost mythical state to achieve for architects. You can't design a home. If you design a house with enough flexibility, the user will provide their personalisations and it will be a home. It will be a place that they yearn to return to every day, one place where they can be themselves, and truly relax. It's all about leaving flexibility options, such as blank walls or a flexible layout.

Of course, another big way of getting the user to value your house design is through memories. And we can do no more to create memories than fit the house with capabilities for as many events as possible: other people staying over (fold-out beds and possible bedrooms), garden parties (wooden floor paneling in the garden, divide the garden into sections so guests can be in groups), or a garage to welcome your son's first car. If the house is in the background of all the users' family photos, your design's worked. As I've said once before, if the user cares about your design then your job is done. It's in their hands, and they care about it enough to respect it and maintain it.

So anyways, that's enough architecture for one day. Expect pics of this house tomorrow.

~John

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