What is your favorite project?
I get this question a lot whenever I meet someone who learns that I am an architect. Of course, I start with that politically correct, but uninteresting response of “all projects have things that make them interesting….So it is difficult to pick one particular favorite project.
A couple of weeks ago, I was invited with other architects to learn about the possible renovation project for an art gallery. While walking through the gallery armed with note pad/pen trying to record all the program requirements from the client, I had a “eureka” moment. It took me back to the time when I had to answer that “what is your favorite project” question. It occurred to me that there is such a thing as a “favorite project”, and it has been little to do with the size, budget or even the stage of the project; however, it has to do with “figuring out” the project and coming up with the possible solution that responds to that particular project in the most creative and aesthetic way.
While all of us were trying to jot down the “problems” of existing gallery conditions, such as art classes being used as a storage space due to unusable condition, I also happen to notice in the corner of the room with art easels with unfinished art works displayed. They were the works of students who were taking art classes at the gallery. Visualizing the usage of the space was a wonderful discovery I had not anticipated before coming to the gallery, and they were possible due to chance seeing the student art works.
The decision of selecting the architect for the project has not been made….However, it feels as if the design process of this particular project has miraculously started on its own. I am keeping my fingers crossed for the chance to exercise that solution!
From this gallery visit, I learned the imaginative way of thinking about that important “What is your favorite project” question: they do not have to be completed/built/in your face building permit received” stage, but they can also start at the moment where one happens to see unfinished art works in a neglected space.
What is your favorite project in your life?