Thank god for women!

 

Juicy Salif, citrus-squeezer designed by Philippe Starck, produced by Alessi

 

I guess, architects would be in big trouble, if there would not be for a feminine part of the usual clients’ duo.

Men, for most cases, are rational functionalists. They easily identify with a famous Louis Sullivan’s quote: “Form follows function”.

 

Farnsworth House designed by Mies van der Rohe derives its aesthetic from its functional form purified to the maximum.

 

Function is, more or less, easy to define.
It could be explained.
Or it could be debated about and rationalized with an argument.

That is, why many men find it so convenient.
Something solid.
Something they could always count for, to be there for them to lean on in case of doubt, confusion and uncertainty.
Something, which ensures, that their world of decision making, remains a known, familiar, measurable place.

Feelings, emotions, aesthetics,… on the other hand, are much harder to comprehend on the conscious level.
They are much harder to express.
Even harder to argue about, or prove them right or wrong with an argument.
But the fact is that, all that, doesn’t make them any less real!

And this is the moment when women prove their true strength and usually make a huge contribution to the project. By being much more intuitive than an average man, they are more accustomed to think about and willing to accept some creative, innovative ideas, that are, at the first glance, beyond ratio, logic and are hard to be proven by argument.

Architecture is a beautiful mixture of engineering science and art. That is what makes it so demanding, tough to master, but on the other hand, so satisfying and, in case of good architecture, admired and long lasting.

There is no doubt, architecture has to satisfy its occupants functional needs. Keep one dry, warm, safe, enable us to work, have fun,… If there is no functional component included, it is not a building any more – we could only speak about the sculpture then.

Therefore, an architect must take a great care in order to ensure, that the building would perform in accordance to its functional demands. What is, due to its immeasurable, improvable nature, often forgotten is, that a good design could and should also count as a feature. An important one, I’d say.

 

Marie Short House designed by Glenn Murcutt, derives its beauty from being attuned to a place.

 

But approaching the architecture – or anything for that matter – only from the functional point of view, robes it of many other aspects.

Aspects, that are not so easily defined. Aspects which, in order to be recognized on the conscious level, require one to expand one’s narrow, rational point of view, to become much more open minded and sensitive for subtler array of senses.

A building, that satisfies functional demands, could prove to be a good architecture as well. It could, and in most cases is, also good looking, since a clarified function could derive great aesthetic values. But primarily, it is an emotional aspect of the building, of the space, that makes it an excellent living or working environment.

 

Designing something extremely beautiful is not excessive. Beautiful, romantic, carefully hand carved inscription on the public toilet building designed Richard Leplastrier.

 

Is it the story it is telling?
Its parti?
Its soul, if you wish?

I’d say, that in a quality architecture, all that, seamlessly merges into a superb user experience.

That is why, I am sometimes – on rare occasions but still – ready to compromise on minor functional, but never on an emotional aspect of the building I am designing.

 

I have designed A House for Extroverted Introverts, to clearly expresses its parti, with a 45 m (148 feet) long ‘defense’ stone wall which divides the space into a public, closed, cold, noisy part near the road and intimate courtyard on the sunny side facing the valley.

 

p.s.

I am fortunate, that a male part of my clients’ duo is defying the stats and constantly prove to know when & how to be subtle as well. At least in most cases 😉

Matej Gašperič

Architect