As we stood outside a large, recently completed residential project that our Long Beach architect firm designed, my brother-in-law turned to me and asked, “How do you do that?” Perplexed, I replied, “How do I do what?” He said, “How do you start with nothing and end up with a great looking building that actually functions?”
I struggled to come up with a satisfying way to answer him. I find, like most people, that when I do something for a long time, I tend to not think about how I do it anymore—I just do it! However, I think it is important to reexamine from time to time, my process and methods for achieving a great outcome. Whether it’s for verbalizing it to a client, conveying it to an employee, improving upon it, or just responding when my brother-in-law asks, “How do you do that?” it’s important to be able to recall the architectural design process and how design decisions came to be.
In this particular residential architectural project, and in many of the projects I’m involved with as an architect in Long Beach, I asked our clients to provide us with images, thoughts, or feelings about what they hoped to achieve with the design. When I do this, our clients will often reference a detail or the character of a space they have seen while on vacation—a comfortable patio, a cozy reading nook, a beautiful view, or an intriguing space. It makes sense—we usually feel the most relaxed when on vacation, away from the everyday pressures of life. We have the chance to sit and just enjoy a space. I think our clients are often seeking to replicate that experience, as much as the space itself.
Not all of our Long Beach clients have homes in exotic locations or with sweeping ocean views, but we can design a home or even a space that seamlessly references elements that transport them to a place of luxury and relaxation. By studying the materials, the volume and scale, the lighting, and other characteristics of the space they have chosen to reference, we are able to use our experience as architects to create or integrate these components into our building designs.
Sometimes, this takes on a more a literal approach, and other times, the connection between the vacation spot and the home we design is subtler, but we always do our best to create a space that gives our clients the overall atmosphere they desire, all while seamlessly fitting the newly-designed space in with the existing home if need be. It starts with a conversation. One in which our clients express their needs and desires for their home, with words and photographs, and we, as architects, listen intently and gain an understanding of what is most important to them.
We are passionate about good architectural design that results in a great finished product for our clients, but even more so about the people we work with, and helping to give them the lifestyle they want to enjoy in their homes. If you’re looking for an architect in Long Beach that will work with you to bring your vision into reality, contact us at Grisafe Architecture. We’d love the chance to talk with you about your project.