the architect’s home

Let’s dispel a vicious rumor right now: Architects are not rich and most likely they never will be (unless Disney comes knocking to build some new pseudo-architectural monstrosity at $1500/sf).  So this begs the question, what kind of house would an architect design and build for themselves if money wasn’t the issue?  And I task any architect or designer reading this to please answer.

Would it be hyper-modern and archi-flashy or conservative and understated?  Would the design be stylistic in appearance or focus more on an honest expression of material and structure?  Would you employ the latest in “Green” technology and Passive House principles or would you utilize those “old world” vernacular tactics?  Would you design the home yourself or engage the talents of a local peer whom you trust as the designer?

All of these questions, and more, fly through my head as I think about what I want my own home to look like, how I want it to function and perform and what it would cost.  Personally, I think that all architects should design and build their own home at least once and preferably earlier in their career than later. Some might think that is a crazy notion, and it most likely is, but I think it would teach many lessons and very quickly grow the architect or designer into a more proficient professional.

The act of building is something that has woefully been lost in both education and practice. It seems to me that gone are the days when architects and architectural students were active in the art and science of actually BUILDING something. And the lessons that can be learned from building your own home, to me, would be invaluable in terms of your professional development and practice. Even simply owning your own home is an education in itself. Maintaining your home, doing routine “fix-its” and even the not so routine “fix-its” like having to re-plumb a bathroom gives you a visual and tactile impression of how things are done and how things go together.

Now, getting back to architects houses…

If money really wasn’t an issue, what kind of house would you, The Architect, build for yourself?

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2 thoughts on “the architect’s home

  1. Tough question to answer. I can say for sure that if money were no object, I would still build a relatively small house. I would focus on creating flexible spaces that transitioned well from interior to exterior, and provided great views (I assume I would have an amazing view, after all). As for the style, it is hard to say. I really love so many different styles, that I sometimes day dream about owning several homes in various styles. I love the Mediterranean stucco homes with tile roofs (the authentic ones, not McMansion knock offs). I love the old world rough-hewn solid wood furniture and simple neutral palette of colors. I also love contemporary designs that are clean and sharp; smooth surfaces, minimal decoration, simple but efficient design. I think regardless of the style, I wouldn’t design the house ‘for myself’, but rather ‘for the place it exists’. After all, I would just be a user of that space, not the inspiration for it. Hopefully I’ll get the chance soon!

    • Wow. Damn good answer! 🙂 I don’t think I could have said it better myself. I also love many of the “old world” vernacular styles. The Craftsman being one of my favorites. Simple, honest expressions of structure and form are what really matters to me in architecture. My home would reflect that…and of course, whatever my wife tells me to do. She is after all The Boss. 😉

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