I was speaking yesterday with two friends of mine, who just happen to be an architect and a builder, and it struck me – not just for the first time – about the apparent disconnect between those two professions, and even to an extent, interior designers like us. It caused me to want to write a word of caution and encouragement to all of our mutual clients out there.
As a general rule, we three professions engage with each other (and you) like this: the architect will be creative and dream up (depending on budget) wonderful, exciting and sometimes unlikely or seemingly impossible structures. These people are the dreamers that you need if you want your home to be truly amazing and unique. If you are a good client, who engages your architect with a description of what you need, and then steps back and allows them the freedom to create it, then I believe you will receive something truly spectacular. I hasten to add that architects certainly understand the boundaries of physics and building! But their core remains creative and delightfully forward-thinking.
Builders on the other hand tend to fall into the camp of “this has always been done this way and what the architect is asking is impossible”. I don’t deny that some architects, some of the time, may create a plan that needs revising, and that builders understand the limits and practicalities of building better than others, but both camps will find that with an open mind and some constructive discussion that they are entering new territory and building something innovative. It may be that it costs more or takes longer, but it may not be ‘impossible’!
This misalignment in approaches, far from being a problem or even a flaw in their respective professions, is actually responsible for the great progress we enjoy in building today. The greatest buildings of our time are only so because these two professions found a way together. You, as a client, will need to work with both parties to come up with a compromise between what is and is not possible. The moral of this story is that the solution will not lie with one camp or another, but somewhere in between.