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In search of True
Posted on August 1, 2023 @ 5:42PM
"Where there is style, there is no need for a style." ~ Frank Lloyd Wright

Social networks provide opportunities to engage a diverse community of people in conversations to reveal a broad sampling of opinion on any topic. I have occasionally posed questions to fans of my Sam Rodell | Architect Facebook page, and have found many of the responses to be interesting. I appreciate the feedback, and often find it provocative. One recent example derives from this question: "Imagine you have decided to work with an architect to design a home for yourself. When you think of the design process, would you want..." I left the question format open so others could either vote for answers they saw or add an answer. That unconstrained approach allows for unexpected and interesting responses.

For example, one of the more popular responses I saw to that question was "Something unique - a statement." Hardly surprising; I imagine many people think that outcome may be why they would hire an architect. But to the extent that is true, I will suggest those people may want to consider sharpening their expectations.

From my perspective, it is virtually a certainty that everything I do will be unique, simply because my work reflects a very specific response to the particularities of the project owner and the project site. Any project founded on such inevitably unique considerations will, by definition, be singular and distinct.

But will it be a 'statement'? This is where things get a bit more complex, and also where, I think, misguided zeal for creativity too often leads to marginal, contrived design work. My thought is the design solution should be the purest expression of those considerations I note above; site and client. If that becomes true for a project, it seems to me nothing by way of a 'statement' should need to be added; the response to site and client will be the statement. As an artist, I cannot help but express that essence in a uniquely personal way, of course, and that is where I believe the authentic 'signature' of an architect will be formed.

Author: Sam Rodell

Sam has practiced as an award winning architect for forty years, and has also built many of his clients' projects.  He is licensed throughout most of the western USA and Canada, and is certified by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) which expedites registration in other states and provinces. He was the first Certified Passive House Consultant architect in eastern Washington and northern Idaho.