Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Read: Mixing the Sacred and the Profane

Mixing the Sacred and the Profane: Metropolis Magazine
Renzo Piano talks about how the city informs his decision making in design.
Visit his firm's website to see some excellent work.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Jargon: Programming

Architectural Programming
Architectural Programming is an essential step in the design process. It includes developing an understanding of what uses a building will encompass and how they are related and it results in an objective outline that describes the scope of the design project. During the programming phase of building design you define the problem which the design is meant to solve.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Excercise 02: Scale, The very big

This week think about how your home fits in to the big scheme of things.

As you go about your day take note of the way you interact with the city as a result of your home's place in it.

Think about transportation, health and emergency services, groceries, entertainment, everything...
  • At the end of the day on Wednesday make an "everything you did list" of a typical day. Use one or two word present tense verbs to describe the things you did. For example: driving, shopping, etc. Make the list as long as possible, stretch your mental muscles.
  • At the end of the day on Thursday make a list of all the things you really enjoy doing. Use one or two word present tense verbs as above. Limit the list to the top 12 things you enjoy the most.
  • Over the weekend compare the lists. Write down what it would take to move something from your things you really enjoy doing list to your typical day list. Re-imagine your relationship with your city if it helps. Describe how your home, its location, and lifestyle effects your two lists.

Let me know how it goes. Check the comments and I'll post my results.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Read: Passive Survivability

Here's an idea that has been given prominence after the major infrastructure failures of Katrina.

Design homes to provide minimum functionality when the infrastructure around them fails. - EBN 15:5 - Passive Survivability: A New Design Criterion for Buildings

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Exercise Activity Explainer

Remember that this blog is a work in progress. So I will be coming up with ideas to try out on the reader to see if they are helpful. I'll be asking you to do things that bring you into the design mindset. We'll start with Exercises.

An Exercise is an activity any reader can complete with a little time, self-reflection, and pen and paper. I will be asking you to concentrate on some part of your life-style in order to reveal and document your aspirations for living.

Keep whatever documents you develop from the activities in your Design Stockpile. We may come back to some in the future.

If you've got a better name for this activity let me know.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Excercise 01: Change Your View, Drive to Work

At the begining of this process I would like you to break away from the everyday. By snapping out of your typical day you will be better able to take in the design ideas to follow.

For the rest of the week take a different route to work.

It may take you longer, but it will be worth it.

Look around. Notice billboards, schools, neighborhoods, and roads. Imagine how the people who live around there are the same or different than you. Imagine their home life.

  • Compare the different routes in your mind. How are different parts of the city arranged? Find something you really like and identify the thing you most dislike.
  • Begin to undersatnd why you take your particular route. Think radically. How could other routes become more appealing?
  • Notice people. What are they doing? What are the wearing? Where are they going? Who are those people?
(I came across this idea while listening to Killer Innovations, a Podcast by Phil McKinney.)

Welcome to The Year Before My Architect...

I want to welcome all of you to my experiment: The Year Before My Architect.

My goal is to introduce each of you to my perspective on the world of design and architecture, give you skills that will help you attain a home that is truly yours, and produce a physical collection of ideas and images that describe the home of your dreams.

I've had a little trouble getting this off the ground. I keep wanting it to be perfect before I move forward. I've let that become a crutch. So instead of attempting to birth a perfect idea into the world, I'll begin by stumbling.

So far I am thinking I will come up with a couple activities per week to get you thinking about architecture and how you want your house to be designed.

Some will be about collecting images from the web or from magazines, some will be questions that will help you discover more about what you want, and still others will look at how we organize our lives. I haven't worked all these out yet but the idea is to provoke you to think about what you want from your home. I will try to post these activities regularly, and to adapt and grow and change to meet your needs. Let me know how I'm doing.

As we go along you can incorporate assignments into a Design Stockpile. (It will be like a sketchbook of design ideas.) After some time working with and documenting life-style ideas you should have a great resource to bring to a designer, builder or Realtor. Better than that, you should have a better understanding of what will be best for you and your family.

Thank you for taking your valuable time to read my blog and work through some of the activities. If you do find the information here helpful or interesting please tell someone about it.

Take care and good luck,

Paul Cline