Frighteningly Detailed

Do details really matter? I mean, most of the people who come and see our pavilion won’t be architects, right? They won’t notice if we put effort into making this joint beautiful AND functional, right? I won’t lie, thoughts like that cross my mind all the time when I’m trying to design aspects of a project that aren’t always things that will show up in the money shots or things that don’t seem like they would be important for those without the architectural eye. But I always seem to come back to the simple fact that good design is good design, and there is a reason that it is good design. In fact, just today, Professor Pastre and I were going back and forth between each other, between sketches, and between Google Image searching trying to figure out one of the main joints for our pavilion, and I realized that this joint essentially is our pavilion. I realized that a well detailed joint can sell the project in ways that no other element can.

Have you ever listened to a song and tried to understand why that song appeals to you? Why that song being sung by that singer, with that music in the background resonates with you? It’s probably not as simple as saying something like “Oh, well, I really like the singer’s voice.” But that’s not really why you like the song, there’s more to it. Why do you like the singer’s voice? It’s probably because of some small, almost imperceptible detail. Maybe he/she uses a slight inflection on a particularly powerful lyric, or they manage to make their voice raspy or hoarse in a specific place to really emphasize an emotion. Maybe the horns in the background swell just a tiny bit to add some punch to the vocals in a certain spot. That tiny detail, that almost imagined quality of sound is what sticks in your head. The whole song might not bounce around your mind all day, but the detail will.

Inspirational steel and wood connection

Inspirational steel and wood connection

It’s the same thing with these details that we are designing. If we go the extra mile and manage to figure out a way to really add beauty to the way the posts meet the beams, to the way the trellis meets the ground, to the way the structure of the roof shapes the light below it, then people will, quite simply, have a better experience in the space. Someone might look at the corner detail and see the beam floating slightly above the post and see the girder floating slightly above that and subtly perceive the pavilion to be more a lighter, transparent space. Someone might look at the trellis and, because of a denser area at the top of trellis, experience a more filtered and sculpted light through the plants and thus have their own intimate moment with the pavilion.

However, this post is called frighteningly detailed because we need to make all these details a reality in a little more than a month. And we have much less time than that to figure them out. But they are really what will take this pavilion from paper space into the real world, so essentially they are the last hurdle to get to a point where we can leap off the drawing boards and into space.

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