Some architects obtain celebrity status for their innovative designs. In the United States, most people have heard of Frank Lloyd Wright, who designed many iconic homes, as well as the Guggenheim Museum, or Frank Gehry, who came up with the design for the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Architects like these push the envelope in their designs, creating homes and buildings that people tend to either love or hate. Their designs are highly creative and cutting-edge, and therefore a little too “out there” for the average person. Visitors might appreciate the innovation in design, but they wouldn’t necessarily want it for their own home or commercial space.
Many architects aren’t interested in creating polarizing designs, and the truth is, they often don’t have permission to do so even if they wanted to. This is because architects work for their clients, who very rarely give them carte blanche to design whatever they want. Most clients want their architect’s design to include a healthy balance of creativity and functionality. Finding this balance is often how an architect stays competitive in the industry and continues to get work.
What Creativity Looks Like for Most Architectural Design Projects
For most architects, creativity can take a variety of different forms. It can come in the form of a new take on an existing style of design. It can be the combining of design styles in an interesting or innovative way, or it can be a design that solves a unique problem in a creative way. However, an architect’s creativity must always be combined with the practical, because their designs need to conform to local building codes and their clients’ budgets, and the resulting homes and buildings need to be suitable for living or working in.
At my Long Beach architecture firm, we often work with clients who want their custom home or their commercial space to stand out, but not so much that it no longer fits in the neighborhood in which it is situated. We typically accomplish this by taking cues from the area and incorporating local elements into the building or home’s design in creative ways. By doing this, we can give a homeowner or business owner the look and feel they want, without creating something that sticks out like a sore thumb.
Creativity in Home Remodels and Tenant Improvement Projects
In the cases of home remodels and tenant improvement projects, our clients have existing spaces that don’t currently work for them, for whatever reason, and they need creative solutions from our architecture firm. Maybe the floorplan doesn’t have a good flow, or the interior spaces aren’t allocated in a way that works well for the client, or the space is simply outdated.
Sometimes, our clients come to us with ideas for how they want the space to look and/or function in the end, but more often, they come to us with problems that need solving. They’ll say things like, “This kitchen is too small for our large family,” or “This office needs more meeting spaces for the collaborative work our employees do,” or “Our home is stuck in the 1980s.” It is then up to our Long Beach architecture firm to do some creative problem solving to make the space look and function how our client wants it to. This might mean giving the interior floorplan a complete overhaul, adding square footage, or it might just require a few creative tweaks.
So, to answer the initial question, “How creative should I expect my architect to be?” You should expect your architect to have creative ideas and come up with solutions that you never would have considered on your own. You can also expect that he or she will design something that’s aesthetically pleasing and interesting, but the majority of the architects out there are not creative geniuses capable of designing something on par with the Sydney Opera House. If that is your expectation, you may need to adjust it—or come in with a huge design budget so you can hire one of the few architects who can deliver designs on par with the architectural legends.short url: