The Art of Inclusion
For years, actually for almost a century the “elite” architects of the world have been honing their skills in the art of exclusion. Reductionism has reined supreme as the Holy Grail of the minimalist ideal, sought, pursued, and relentlessly forced upon the public. The public has been too smart, they have not been fooled, and they have not been shamed into accepting it. At the same time, these elite architects have “elevated” themselves into their own exclusive club. A club so elevated, I believe they now dwell on the moon, or some other inhospitable planet.
Well that’s fine with me they can have their planet, good riddance. Now that they have clearly left us, it is time for the rest of us to turn our eyes to the world of infinite possibilities where we can include things once deemed beneath us, and still to manage to do it beautifully. This art is what I like to call the Art of inclusion.
You are all welcome to the party; yes, even the elite are invited if they can accept the error of their ways.
So what do we include? First, we should turn our attention to the most hurt, insulted, and frankly pissed off faction, the client.
I have clients who build things they intend to use, love, and live in. Places that they want to proudly call home or work. Places in which they will dwell, where they will raise a family, feel cared for, cook, clean, entertain friends, relax, find solace, and sleep. In the process of designing their home, they want to, need to, and have the right to have a voice, and have that voice respected. Architects must see their client as a collaborator and partner in the process. As another architect recently said, we are actors and the design process is a night at the improv. This very accurate analogy perfectly captures the spirit of inclusion. Architects must learn to bring our skills, experience, and our open minds to the table and leave preconceived ideas behind. It can get messy when a client has an idea that perfectly messes up everything, but the truly talented and creative architect will struggle and find the kernel of truth that brings it all together into a cohesive whole. We are singular beings built of disparate and conflicting pieces. Yet, as individuals, we somehow build a life, and so as an architect dedicated to inclusivity, I must find a way to build a home or place of work, out of all the conflicting needs, desires, and dreams of my clients.
My projects will never have the same look always being as unique as my clients.
The result of this openness is always a happy client, that has great place to live in and experience, but a place that is inevitably difficult to photograph. The greatest complement a photographer can give me is when they walk into one of my projects they love it and are excited to photograph it but once they get to work they just can’t capture it. My work is never set up as a stage set for the camera. It is more set up as a stage set for life. I may create three dimensional space but I always include the fourth dimension, life.