Thoughts on the Design Process

In this post I have written my thoughts about the design process and the nature of creativity for architects.

Many people I meet think that architects are experts at letting their imagination run wild and inventing amazing creative solutions for their project. The reality is not quite that simple of course.

Architects are educated to think both creatively and critically. What is not always understood is that this process takes time. Creative ideas need to be critically tested. Compositions have to be honed and developed. Although it is true to say that sometimes ideas happen spontaneously, the realisation of those ideas has to be carefully worked through in order to arrive at a successful proposition.

There is an overall desire among all good architects, learnt during their architectural education to produce the best possible design that they are able to and architects are often their own harshest critics.

The reality of this in architectural practice is that many architects spend more hours thinking about and working out their ideas than they bill for.

This leaves the question, how does one quantify creative thinking? For example, an architect might test out three ideas and then decide that only one of them is ultimately feasible to be developed into a holistic design proposal. This is not such an issue if the architect is working on an academic or theoretical proposition, perhaps in a School of Architecture, for example.. Only the most understanding of clients would accept being charged for time spent investigating ideas and thoughts during the design process that ultimately have no mileage.