What Not To Build, Part 1

You wouldn’t go out looking like this (hopefully). At least not if you hoped to be taken seriously-

because you know that you’d draw attention to yourself for the wrong reasons. You know enough of the “rules” of fashion to recognize immediately that although the hat may be technically and arguably beautiful, its too large, too frivolous and too impractical.

Hypothetically, if you were invited to attend an event where your appearance would be judged for the foreseeable future, say for your full length portrait in the gallery of “Good Citizens and Important Persons of Note”, the hypothetical you, if you’re a woman, would spend a lot of time choosing the perfect gown. You’d spend time studying current offerings, discussing options with your best friend; making absolutely sure that the dress was perfect and your accessories were just the right choice to complete the look. You’d probably avoid the avant garde for fear that you’ll look like the trendy lady above.

If the  hypothetical you is a man, you’ll resort to the safe but classic tux. You’ll omit (I hope) the ruffled shirt, white piping, cane and top hat.

You do these things because you know that looking good in a situation like this is an appropriate sign of respect for the occasion and when you are confident that you look good, you feel good.

Red Carpet events in Hollywood are an example of fashion choices, although the consequences for failure are not catastrophic, where the right look is a result of careful study. Those luminaries seeking to make the “Best Dressed” lists know something you should know- unless you are absolutely, positively confident that your taste are impeccable, don’t try to do this without expert help and don’t trust your image to the latest hot designer unless you’re positive that hot designer isn’t going to make you the laughing stock of “those who know”.

Having sat through literally thousands of hours on Architectural Review Boards, I’m amazed at the owners and (sadly) architects who push through laughable architectural faux pass because “I don’t care what anybody else thinks, that’s what I want!” when what they want simply demonstrates that they don’t understand the basic architectural concepts underlying the “rules” they’ve chosen to break. Gentle reader, do not chose an architect that hasn’t taken the time to achieve at least a minimal understanding of architectural history and design. This is generally not emphasized in school and it is not only possible, but probable that the average architect made it through school without any useful instruction in this area. Most of us, if we’ve learned ANYTHING about traditional classical architecture, have learned it after graduation.

I had an architect, after hearing my views tell me that without experimentation there would only be classical music and no jazz. But jazz is built on the foundations of traditional and classical music! Musical experimentation without a solid grounding in the structure and theory of what ‘s come before would result in noise, not music.

If you’re an owner, chose your architect wisely. If you’re an architect and want to learn more, I’d suggest the Institute of Classical Architecture for resources and continuing education.


About More Than Architects

I’m Rick Clanton. Michael Ruegamer and I are architects and the principals of Group 3 Design on Hilton Head Island, SC. We provide architecture and interior design services for homes in the US and the Caribbean Islands.
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One Response to What Not To Build, Part 1

  1. longbrakeliving says:

    You always told me to be a paint splatter artist I needed to know how to draw portraits and whatnot. I get that for that I would need to understand the basics of color and composition, but not portraiture. Sorry. I still don’t believe that one. But, I believe you when it comes to music and architecture!

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