A couple of posts ago I started talking about “the process” and used some sketches I had recently drawn on the back of paper plates. I mentioned there that the IDEA or initial CONCEPT of a place was my favorite part of the design process. There truly is something magical and pure about an idea. The famous modernist architect and poet Louis Kahn said that the idea of a place was so perfect in his mind, yet always somewhat less after he had birthed it. I think it was that purity of thought and how it can’t exist in such a way anywhere else but in the mind, that he was getting at. Yet, it is so crucial to get the idea, or approach right isn’t it? I believe, in these matters if you “don’t have me at hello“, you never will, ever. Not just me, but moreover in our culture, everyone is a wee bit A.D.D. Having said all that in celebration of ideas; a good beginning will only get you so far- it must be developed and it must evolve and be refined into an ever simpler and thoughtful design to become a great idea.
As an example of other recent napkin sketches and this transition through the design process take a look at these rough doodles. Please refer back to the drawing at the top to see the slightly more developed design of the exterior shown below in it’s birthday suit.
You may notice these are done on the backside of a MAPQUEST printout so I must have been traveling somewhere. Airplanes make great thought provoking laboratories don’t they? In these drawings you can see parts are in ink, others in pencil- in many instances these sketches do not happen all in one sitting. My goal is in these diagrams is simply to “gut it out” which is simply to get the ideas onto paper. It is apparent some development already was taking place between the overall site drawing (in light pencil) and further attempts at the kitchen/ dining/ living areas (in darker ink center).
The exterior was refined, (compare the drawing at top with airplane sketch) losing the rounded dutch parapet (a parapet is a wall that abuts, or hides the roof behind it) for a simpler more elegant form. The entry which initially was on the far left hand side (see rough sketch plan) was brought into a more functional relationship to the house by moving to the center (see below). This refinement resulted in an entry which places more attention about the taller portion of the house. The added benefit to the exterior design is a greater sense of hierarchy and focal point. We edit, and thoughtfully detail and develop, our designs- in hopes that the effort and desire towards continual refinement and pursuit of beauty and delight will be evident in the final versions of the work. The great irony to me is what a complex process we go through, to make a design appear- so simple.