Vision - One of the Reasons You Hire an Architect
A really smart, savvy and successful couple, who had, as far as I know, never worked with an architect before, moved into a 2 flat. They said they were thinking about turning it into a single family home. They "needed time to figure out how to envision the space." I wanted to answer them, but I did not think it was my place. I did though, on the behalf of my sometimes misunderstood profession, want to address it a later time because I do not think we architects have done a very good job demonstrating our value and/or showing that we are uniquely suited to make a positive contribution to such an endeavor. Here it is:
I think that one of the most productive and, ultimately, attractive qualities of a good architect is vision. What do I mean by vision? I ask you to look at the before and after photo below.
That's the same red wall and the same camera location. (The bathroom door on the left was flipped.) This 1880s row house was a bit of a diamond in the rough. The rear of the house (the elevation with the refrigerator in the top or before photo) is a blank wall. The transformation speaks for itself. The new is, well, completely that. Open and bright, it creates an inside/outside space that is small in stature but an essay in volume. Is this something the client saw? No, but the client described the lifestyle and qualities they desired. After observing them in their home and engaging these issues, we worked together to come up with this solution.
Henry Ford was once asked about his inspiration for the Model T. Was the first mass-produced automobile something his customers had asked for? “No,” he replied, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”
A good Architect sees the opportunities that are hidden in plain sight. This vision can be a productive and profitable aid in your design and construction project. Isn't that why you hire an architect?