Why does good design matter? Builders, project planners, even realtors laud the fact that design is a critical component in architecture. But does design live up to the hype? Absolutely. Here are 3 reasons that design still matters:
Its pretty. Ok so this may seem like a “duh moment” but it really can’t be understated how important visual composition is to design. Although there are hundreds of different structural styles out there, from post-modern, to colonial, to mid-century and beyond, one common thread shared by all is a good visual presentation. Yes, individual taste does matter and although one may not admire each different style, even budding aesthetes have a tacit understanding of the difference between “eccentric” and “sloppy.” Structural design has to be visually appealing.
Its functional. Is it a laptop stand or is it a countertop? Its both! 21st Century ergonomics have taught us that innovation is a fundamental aspect of good design, but only when it is built within a framework of practicality. To illustrate this point, one need look no further than the design of most hotel showers. There’s no logic there, really. Usually there’s no marker for cold or hot and you’re standing there bleary-eyed at some un-caffeniated hour with a mix of terror and anxiety, not knowing whether you’re about to freeze or boil when that first blast of water hits you. Want to solve this? Simple – standardize the format – but unfortunately, this idea is elusive. Ease of use, comfort, practicality – these things shouldn’t have to be taught; instead they should be endemic to a form. The same concept holds true for an architectural structure. Designers with a keen eye are judicious in their use of spatial organization, meaning that a structure shouldn’t be needlessly complex in order for it to work.
It’s sustainable. Whether you’re planning on keeping something for a week or you’re keeping it for the rest of your life, you probably would like to invest in something that will appreciate in value. Over time, even the best design needs some care and attention, but inferior or cheaply built structures rife with design flaws tend to need much more maintenance. That is, unless you’d like to keep that bathtub-sized hole in the kitchen ceiling as a conversation piece. And its good for the environment as well. Want to reduce your carbon footprint? Save yourself some time and effort doing bi-monthly repairs with bio-incompatible building materials.
Its essential that a structure utilizes all three of these components. Good architecture firms often talk about the interplay between these three elements. Great firms, however, allow their work to speak for them. How have these things enriched your life? We’d love to hear from you!
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