Design Intent(ions) vs. Blurred Lines

Design Intent(ions) vs. Blurred Lines

Design Intent(ions) vs. Blurred Lines

Over the last couple of weeks, months, or possibly even years I've been struggling with understanding when too much is too much and when too little is too little. Actually, what I've been struggling with is telling others when I think too much is too much or too little is too little. How many times have you been on the brink of taking your project from great to spectacular?! Or in a more real scenario, from bad to ok, or good to somewhat better? Designs change and evolve as a project evolves. it's the nature of the beast. In the recent past I've encountered a number of situations where design solutions are resolved by pointing out a blurry line in an outdated rendering. Or by adding a slight recess (almost unnoticeable at eye level) 200 feet up in the air. I don't consider myself the best designer around, and some may say I suck, but there's times when I question others' abilities as well.

One of the most common arguments lately has been the use of renderings. I personally believe a rendering is a tool used to get an idea across, as is a model. They aren't real. Too often I hear references to "the rendering". For whatever reason the rendering, which was created during the conceptual stage when not much was really figured out yet, becomes the all mighty binding document by which all actions should be checked and measured. I simply don't agree with that. Yes, you want to stay true to the design intent, but that doesn't mean sacrificing time, money or quality for that "blurry line" which may or may not be a reveal. I've had instances where I've been asked to look at the rendering when trying to decide whether a glass pane should be vision or spandrel. Really? The rendering which was modeled using solid opaque geometry with a highly reflective surface is suppose to tell me whether a real world glass pane is either vision or spandrel? Sorry, but I don't believe it... Just like I don't believe a 1/2" recess 200' in the air is worth fighting over. Why not simply use a reveal to get the point across? Is someone at ground level really going to notice the change of planes that high up on a building? The windows aren't operable so the argument of someone sticking their head out the window in order to enjoy that slight change of planes is negated. I simply don't get it. Instead of stressing about those small insignificant items I wish more time would be invested in finding better real solutions to material transitions, more thought on better more efficient materials, or more thought and coordination on the systems. Those items, in my opinion, take a mediocre building to the next level, not a 1/2" recess... This may seem like a somewhat passive aggressive post and it is... I apologize to anyone I've worked with who reads  this and feels like it's about them. I've actually had this conversation with my coworkers and argued multiple times about the items I think are more important, so if you think I'm writing about you and I haven't personally spoken to you about it then no I am not writing about you. With that said, please don't stress about the little things, there are way too many other more important things to stress about in this world aside from 1/2" depressions or blurred lines...

About the Author

Hiram Roman

Hiram Roman

All thoughts are my own and in no way affiliated with any outside orgnizations. 

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