Intentional Mistakes?

I’ve been thinking lately about what our work and our process look like to someone who is not as design-oriented. So, for those of you reading who may not be all that familiar with the architectural (or landscape architectural) design process, I thought I would provide a little insight into how we come about the solutions that we do.

My design group, in particular, is known as “The Grove” (because of a common theme of repeated structures that create shade, just as a grove of trees), or “The Studs” (because we are all ridiculously strong, talented, and attractive men) or “The Beards” (because we all have beards). Our attempt at finding a solution for this project has demonstrated a couple of the methods we as designers tend to use. I’ll walk you through them briefly:

The Intentional Method

  • This method is definitely the long way to go about the design process, but is the most preferred and the most reliable. It includes long, draining hours of thinking about every tiny aspect of a design – how the axes line up, how circulation is affected, how the materials respond to each other, how people will use this space, etc. I must also mention that, although the solutions from this process are well-thought out, sometimes the end result may look like it was unplanned. This is usually for good reason (if the designer is good). In particular, our group concept features a “grove” of structures that acts as a normal grove of trees, with seemingly natural clusters. However, upon further review the structures are actually on a grid! And viola! The design features a well-thought out grid that responds to the site but looks as though it had just grown naturally from the ground.

As stated before, this method is by far the most trusted and acclaimed method. The next method may not be for everyone…

The Mistake Method

  • As our group has found, the mistake method, although often not very reliable, may prove to be a winner. This method can often be found after long hours of going through the Intentional Method, and often is accelerated with the accompaniment of tense nerves and tired brains. Essentially, this method includes trying absolutely every possible solution, and possibly even some impossible solutions, until creativity has run dry. This is basically like a brainstorm (or, as one of my previous professors calls them, “mind-phoons”), where any idea is fair game. The Grove very luckily stumbled upon a solution using this technique after we had seemingly hit a dead-end with the specific design of our structure. As I cannot disclose any more information, I must say that if our group’s design makes the final cut you will all have the opportunity to see this beauty of a design.

So you can see, our process is very complex, and may be comprised of any percentage of the Intentional or Mistake methods (hopefully at least 90% Intentional), but hopefully this tiny insight will help you to understand why our process takes so much time. The benefit, however, is that with lots and lots of thought, and multiple revisions, the solution that Studio V arrives at should be the absolute best possible.

Thanks for reading!


PS… If my sarcasm doesn’t read very well through writing, please forgive me. I didn’t actually mean any of it!

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