The relationship between one’s creative vision and creative tools is very important. Each informs the other, and each is dependent upon the other to realize a design vision. As new design process tools emerge, new ways of thinking about concept design will surface. Conversely, as designers envision new and exciting concept design futures, new design process tools will be invented.
As architects, often there is a gap between the vision for a building design and the existence of materials available with which it can be built. Yet, the gap between creative vision and creative tools is also just as important --- but in a different way.
For example, as architectural spaces become more adaptive, a new kind of complexity enters the design process. It becomes more difficult to fully “see” your design vision, in all of its dimensions for impact of interaction and subsequent occupant response. Thus, design tools to help architects better understand the sensorial implications of their interactive environments would be most beneficial. For instance, a real-time “gaming” tool tailored for architects would help designers create more harmonious and value-emitting spaces.
As you design your architecture, be sure to not only push what your design tools can do, but also do not let your creative vision be limited by your tools. You can expand your visions and concepts by allowing yourself to switch tools. For example, if a 3D modeling software is not allowing you enough freedom to explore the poetics or “big idea” behind your design, then try writing about your design. In writing, you will likely realize new concept ideas which are very different from those which arise from 3D modeling. (If you write to conceptualize a design, you may like to try modeling as well, to see if any new ideas of value surface). By switching design tools, you are able to close the creative vision and creative tool gap a bit.
If you cannot find the perfect one tool with which to explore or express your idea, you may find value in using multiple tools to do so. This is also equivalent to making your own tools. To do this, it is important for you to be active about what it is you wish to learn or “see” in your design concept so you can push it further. For instance, you can import your 3D model into gaming software to help you envision interactions within the space. Alternatively, you can use hand-drawings together with digital image manipulation to capture more ethereal and poetic spatial qualities which your concept demands.
Thus, as a designer you will likely find much value in continuously exploring not only what new tools to use, but also how to use the tools which you already have in new ways. You will then be in a better position to push your design vision ---until it pushes back, and you must find or create new tools to express it. Ultimately, there is a push and pull between your design visions and the tools used to express them. And this is a great thing! Innovate your design process by letting each push and pull the other forward. Your designs will benefit greatly.
Image Credit: © apinan | Fotolia
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I now invite you to share your insights and a-ha moments in the comments below. How has this article helped you to see more deeply into architectural design? What did you learn that will make you an even better architect? And how will you apply what you discovered to your own work?
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