My architectural training has given me much more than the technical know-how to design a building. It has also given me a broad aesthetic appreciation of our world, one that informs all aspects of my everyday life. Whilst a good building should be functional and fit for purpose, a truly great building will be one that delivers to more than these simple practical needs. Our lives are enriched by beauty; the play of light, the flow of space, the materiality of a surface, the framing of a view. But ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’, and it is precisely for this reason that I believe that the role of a client is so important and central to the design process. Whilst the Modernist Architect Le Corbusier once described buildings as “machines for living in”, there is no doubt in my mind that when it comes to the inhabitation of a space, poetic considerations will always be on an equal footing with the pragmatic.
When it is said that a building design is only as good as the brief, it is in recognition of the central role that the client must undertake through the design process. After all, as the end user it is the client who is the final judge regarding the success of a project. A building cannot be designed in isolation as there will always be the specific and unique context to consider; whether it is the physical constraints and opportunities of the site, the budget, the available technologies and building materials, or the aspirations of the client. In this respect the best buildings will always be personal, providing the client with a bespoke and individual design response and an inspirational environment in which to live. In the final analysis, I believe that the measure of a truly successful design is the extent to which the building exceeds all of the client’s expectations.