By Fran Pruyn, CRSA Marketing Director
I have been included on a couple of project teams lately. Wow, what a rush!
I don’t know what surprised me most, the “sky’s the limit” feeling at the beginning of a project, or that the team was so willing to listen to my wacky ideas.
Not burdened by anything like architectural knowledge, economic reality, or zoning laws, I only have my imagination and a world of possibilities to rely upon when asked: “what should go here?” or “what does this want to be?” Maybe that is okay. Even if only an itty-bitty piece of an idea I contributed ever makes it into the real world, it will be enormously satisfying to know that I was part of the vision.
Vision, imagination—that means letting go of “no”. I am so pleased to see that our CRSA teams are capable of hearing the “what if’s”; that despite knowing what it takes to get something off the paper and out of the ground they still want to hear things like, “how ‘bout putting a skateboard park out front, or can we use that tall wall as a drive-in movie theatre?” I sincerely doubt that there is much of a market for a drive-in movie theatre, but it was great to see everybody consider it for a minute.
It is so much fun to work with a team that is considerate of the context, understands the function, knows what it is going to take to make things happen, has a handle on the schedule and budget, yet still has taken the time to dream about how this building can be something that the community points at and says, “wow.”
A design firm has to be trusted, both to be a good steward of our client’s resources, but also to see possibilities in a pile of dirt. Sure some clients want to pay as little as possible for as practical a solution as possible, but a great designer can see a need, and fill it with parts of the client’s soul.
Being a good steward of a client’s resources doesn’t just come down to days spent and dollars invested, it includes holding that client’s vision as a sacred trust. Sometimes this means preserving their vision, sometimes it means helping them find a vision. In either case, it is vision—to see what is not yet visible—that is the most daunting and delicious piece of doing architecture.