The plight of all architects seems to be calculating and observing a space – and how others interact with that space – before actually enjoying the atmosphere, party or people.
Here’s what I mean…
Just before sunset, a friend and I walk out to a party on the terrace of an amenity deck. Before I can take in the setting sun, party guests and dramatic skyline view, my vision is flooded by the new space – the scale, materials, finishes, details, furniture, layout and so on.
Not until I decipher if that seat wall has a 2” or 1” overhang on the capstone can I remove myself from the design to enjoy that beautiful sunset.
Observation is a skill designers learn through experience. We focus less on the finish of the paving material or color of the flowers, and more on the people interacting within the space. Their actions and behaviors will tell more about the space’s attributes and failures.
During the aforementioned party, the amenity deck was bustling with people. Every corner of the place was activated. All chairs were taken up regardless of style, material and location.
As the night wore on, the crowd began to thin and spaces became empty. From a designer’s standpoint, it became interesting to see what spaces were valued over another now that choices were available. This allowed for the spaces to be better quantified. What worked, what did not and why?
At Site solutions, we’ve learned to consider more than just quality of materials. We find it helps to observe people engaging with these spaces. Their interactions ultimately define what makes great design. It is, after all, about the people and not brick and mortar.