“a genie has granted your wish and you now have your own room/space to do whatever you do best. what does it look like?” italics added by me
Today we’re asked to describe our ideal space, a space for the sole purpose of doing what we love. The context is writing, but, although I consider myself something of a writer/blogger, it’s not really what I do so here we’re talking about architecture.
For me, I think this is an interesting concept for an architect to think about, as I think few of us really try to picture a “perfect space” for architecture. More often than not we just make do with whatever we have access to. I know this is certainly true in my life and career. This starts in studio for most of us, and I’m no different. My own studio was a sea of old drafting tables. You know the kind you find at Office Depot or Staples? Typically a metal frame with MDF drafting surface and shelf. Certainly nothing special, but there were a lucky few of us that managed to get an extra one and create something of a “work area”. Add in a semester full of work and that once white drafting table is buried under a mound of tracing paper, vellum, chip board, empty starbucks cups and last months pizza.
In my first internship I was assigned a desk/cubicle that was more suited to financial planning or some other paper-pushing profession. Space for drafting and sketching was achieved by taping down some trace and eye-balling with a straightedge. I moved from here to my second office which I think was actually an unused receptionist space. It was small, cramped, and people routinely scared the hell out of me coming around corners.
From there was a step up in that the office I was starting at was new and was designed as an architects office by my boss. It had some remnants of the studio environment being completely open in order to “share across the aisle”, as it were, but still lacked a certain level of function for the practice and art of architecture. My last office, before my current one, was almost ideal. I had a desk, solid wood, that previously belonged to one of the founding partners and a drafting table, a real one, that was about 4′ by 3′, and credenza behind for storage. Add to this the huge bookshelf and it was very nearly heaven to that point. I had the desk for the computer, monitor, files, sticky notes and coffee. The drafting table for just about everything else. It was typically litered with RFI’s, check sets, trash paper, pencils, pens, markers, tape and a few razor blades just in case I got desperate. :-\
And now, having spent nearly 10 years in 5 very different offices I can say that my ideal studio would be as follows:
First, it has to be located in an urban city. I’m not one of those country architects that likes the sound of crickets and squirrels and leaves rustling and all that crap. No, I want to be in the thick of life, city life. I want sirens and honking horns, and crazy homeless people getting in fights and drunkards stumbling by at 2 in the afternoon. It also needs to be at street level. I want to see people walking by. I want them to see me. My door will always be open, except when it’s closed, for anyone to come in and please ask “what do you do?”
Next the waiting and reception area will not hide the nature of the office. There will be no full height walls accept for the conference room, which is also up front and is closed only for privacy but is still transparent. The rear “studio” will have 4-5 stations. Each station will have desktop and laptop hook-ups with deep counters and upper wall cabinets and base cabinets for storage. There will also be built-in a drafting table that can be lifted or lowered flat complete with straight edge. Hint – if you can’t draw by hand you have no business being in my office. In the center of the studio will be a large high table for laying out drawings, sketching, storing drawing rolls, drinking coffee, spitball fights, whatever. This will be the “go-to” spot for all creative exchange.
In the back somewhere we’ll put a toilet or something. I think they still require those things right? Lunch should always be eaten either out of the office or at your desk while working. No other options are acceptable. 🙂 So, that’s my ideal space. What do you think? And what’s yours?