where we need to go

As it so often happens, I got a burst of inspiration for a new house design – a cheap one…well, not cheap, but at least affordable.  Not two days after this brilliant burst of inspiration, I’m on a friends site and I see this post for the Architect that runs the Rural Studio Project out of Auburn and it brought it all home for me.  For years now I’ve been shouting at the wind about how Architects, Designers, Developers and even city planners do not design or build for “the average” person.  They design for developers that then sell to the average person, or they design for large corporations that then hire the average person to work for them.  There is a great disconnect between Architects/Designers and those that actually live/work in our creations.
Go onto any firm website and read the “about us” or “process” section and you’ll see one overwhelming constant – “we focus on our clients needs”.  Well, that’s great, but the reality is we need to focus on the needs of those who will actually inhabit our buildings.  A developer doesn’t really care about the “function” of his apartments or suburban housing tract.  He cares about his bottom line and a series of reactions to questions posed to a “test group” of potential buyers.  This information is then filtered through the developer to the Architect and into the design……see the immediate flaw in this method of creating architecture?  Similarly, a commercial building owner does not care about how the individual tenant spaces will be used.  He cares about total leaseable space.
In any economic condition Architects should be focusing more on those that will truly benefit from our services.  The average homeowner, the small business owner, students, teachers and employees.  In the area of residential design, especially, there is a increasing disconnect between the architect and the homeowner.  This will only continue to hurt the architectural fabric of our neighborhoods.  If we as Architects can put ourselves back in that market, in the role as the Master Builder and take on clients that would not normally consult with us, then we can start to have a real impact on how communities function and interact.

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