Building Buildings & Building Relationships

I’ve been reflecting alot lately on building buildings & building relationships along the way. Any endeavor really, without good human interaction to show for it is well, just another building. Another day, another dollar.

Putting a human face on the architectural design process is achieved through many hours of face-to-face user programming, collaboration and compromise. Communication is key.  Even then, the best illustrations and renderings are still just pictures on paper. But it seems only when that one-time, full-scale mock-up of the building, the building itself,  is complete, do you witness just how far the designer endeavored to hear AND to listen, understand AND embody, interpret AND execute, the wants and desires of the client’s hopes and dreams. It takes a genuine empathy and a kind of initmacy with these hopes and dreams, reserved maybe only for the oldest friends and dearest family. Perhaps there are friends to be made in of our sometimes too adversarial profession.

A client recently produced a beautiful campaign, The New Face of Cancer Care, that for me puts a human face on the endeavor of cancer care as much as the architecture that embodies this noble endeavor.

Our buildings are better when we’re reminded of these faces along the way. And as we build buildings, we build relationships and add to the story of our own endeavor. 

joe wilson

The Presdient spoke last night of basic human decency and kindnesses and the acrimony eroding our national character. Whether it Healthcare Reform or the building of Hospitals, we endeavor to do our best with eyes and arms wide open.

I am awe-inspired by the depth of human endeavor, to pile up millions of pounds of construction materials and with millions of (hu)man-hours laboring away to design and construct a building that endeavors to treat and cure cancer…

…no lie.


Thoughts About Scale & World View/Natural Wonders & Human Endeavor

From the earliest age, our world takes shape through ever-expanding spatial perception and experiences.

haroldI’m reminded of the perspectival phenomenon of babies reaching for the moon and a children’s favorite Harold and the Purple Crayon, Harold’s amazing capacity to expand his world with a little one-point perspective.

That world expands with every interaction of voice and touch and warmth, as the blur of a mother’s face takes shape. Or for our canine friends, Puppy Kindergarten, meeting 100 humans and creatures of their own species in the first 6 months of life came as a powerful testament to the importance of socialization, cooperation and coexistence.

We are about to embark on a family vacation, an odyssey really, to the other side of the planet. Not our true antipodes, but to the Big Island of Hawaii which may as well be, for our mostly suburban, apologetically comfortable brood. That is to say, there are no active volcanoes, tropical rainforests, large marine mammals, multi-tiered waterfalls, infinite horizons or vast expanses of water that I can discern from our front porch in Central North Carolina.

On Paradise, I imagine a place where nature reminds you of at least two things: our vulnerability in the scheme of things apoolside drinknd our indelible strain on nature’s resources.  I imagine too that some may find Paradise in a drink with an umbrella in it delivered poolside by beautiful people for beautiful people.

This in fact has been a common theme for me:  ‘to serve’, be subservient, or, ‘to be served’ without being servile or ignoble and to be the gracious benefactor without offense or condescension.

So to broaden our horizons, our world view, we expose ourselves and our children to all the wonders of our natural planet and human endeavor. In spite of the tourist/local dichotomy where the visitor comes and goes with an entirely different perspective than the inhabitant, it is always my hope that we will be warmly received and able to reciprocate all the while taking in the change in scenery with the UNESCO World Heritage List as our roadmap.