We see architecture as a ‘lived experience’. It supports and expresses human life, and all the interrelated forces that shape it. Architecture is about real people inhabiting real places.
Person Centered Design
First, start with the user’s needs and desires. Help people inhabit the places they live more skillfully. Create enjoyable and meaningful places for them. Often this gets lost in the planning and architecture process, where the building’s users are not consulted and their needs not addressed. Person centered design looks at the design process through the user’s eyes, providing them with an experience that is centered on their needs and wants.
Architecture as Assemblies
‘Assemblies’ is a method of understanding the complex interaction of forces that make up the built environment. Architects shouldn’t invent new ideas and forms so much as they ‘Assemble’ interactions of elements. What do they assemble? Places, paths, events, experiences, enclosures, geometries, and structures. The word ‘assembly’ suggests that each element designed by the architect interacts with the others to create a whole system of interactions. For example, paths through a building interact with rooms creating a series of places that are experienced in a particular order.
A Sense of Place
‘Genus Loci’ or ‘Spirt of a Place’ refers to the intrinsic aspects of a specific place. Often these are natural elements, but can also be cultural, and interpersonal. Natural elements are the tangible physical qualities of a place; light, water, topography, paths, and views. Cultural elements are shared stories that we tell about a place; memories, beliefs, histories, and art. The interpersonal elements are things that we experience or remember about a space. Often in the architectural process a sense of place is destroyed or wiped clean so a new development can be placed on the site. It is our belief that a sense of place should be preserved and enhanced with each new development. Natural elements should be preserved. Stories should be enhanced. Interpersonal relationships should be encouraged. It is our goal to create and enhance a sense of place.