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?