residential architecture and good design

in this months’ edition of residential design & build magazine, the question is posed, “where is good design? is it coming?” in the same titled article by Luis Jauregui, and in which he says: “For some reason, the residential architectural industry continues to struggle. We’re lacking the kind of yesteryear heroes such as the prolific architect Frank Lloyd Wright. In today’s search for higher levels of design performance, many architects and publishers are choosing to pursue the much overused “edgy design,” searching for the next shock or new trend. But holistic good residential design continues to be elusive.”

this struck me as odd, because Wright designed and built houses not for the average homeowner or the average client.  he designed for signature clients that were looking for signature design in their homes and isn’t this the definition of “edgy design” today? Wright’s homes were not spec’d out and built in large development tracts, they were individual, custom designs for individual clients seeking to make a statement.

while Wright certainly designed functional homes, the proverbial envelope was still pushed in his day (see Falling Water as the prime example).  so it begs the question, if Wright is a yesteryear hero in the architectural community, how can we “overuse edgy design” as clearly Wright was “edgy” for his day?

Jauregui concludes his article by saying: “A revolution is underway among residential architects and it’s up to each of us to capitalize on the movement. It all starts with good design. Residential architects as a professional community must commit to producing high-quality custom home design and construction drawings. We must take the leap of faith and believe that we can create a more positive reality for our industry. If God is truly in the details then good architecture lies in design development.”

I wonder why Jauregui thinks this isn’t already underway.  he does mention that there is a “new leadership” emerging in the residential design community, but it’s my view that these leaders are emerging as direct descendants of an older guard that was much more focused on the details and construct-ability of architecture.  if we truly want to further good design in all forms of architecture, first we need to work on the state of education that puts a premium on flashy design and loose architectural philosophy instead of on the practicality of how something will be put together. it isn’t until one gets into practice that they truly learn “what makes building stand up”.

in order to further good design, the architect must retake his/her place as the master builder. by doing so, good design will naturally follow as function and form flow together rather than being one dependent upon the other.


About Jeremiah

Birth: April 6 - Upstate New York Education: Savannah College of Art and Design Bachelor of Fine Art - 2003 Masters of Architecture - 2003 Member AIA National since 2004 Member AIA Florida since 2004 Member AIA Jacksonville since 2004 Member Emerging Design Professionals Jacksonville since 2006 Emerging Design Professional President 2009-2010 View all posts by Jeremiah

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