Images to Architecture


Show Notes:


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When did you first decide to build or renovate your house? When did the idea hit you?

You most likely did not begin your thoughts of building a new house or renovating entirely on your own. It is more likely that you saw an image of something either in real life, a television show or in printed or digital media and thought hmm.

You saw something that sparked you wanting to venture down the similar path towards creating something for yourself. You might not have even seen exactly what you wanted but rather an image that sparked some creativity within you. Something that told you that you wanted something more or something different.

Images, either seen with our own eyes by exploring the built world around us or seen through print or digital means they both have an effect on us. All the images that we see and collect overtime shape us into what we are and how we see the world.

Our current age is flooded with images. We must see hundreds of thousands of images a day. They come and go. We see them then on to the next image. We might scroll through feeds on Instagram or visit websites searching for those images. Each and every image we see, no matter how quickly, you have to imagine that it gets cataloged somehow in your brain. Stored away waiting to be recalled when that moment sparks.

You have probably heard the saying, “There’s nothing new in the world.”

I believe this statement to be very true. And I don’t see it in a depressing or limiting way at all. Actually for me, it is rather relieving. It lets me know that I can build upon others ideas and make them either better or entirely worse.

Isaac Newton said, “If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.” Meaning that all his ideas all his discovery and greatness was not created entirely alone. His work was possible because of the people who came before him. The work and discovery done before him.

“There is nothing new in the world.” It is an interesting concept because we might think of that one thing that seemed so revolutionary to be new. In actuality it was not new at all, but it was revolutionary. Revolutionary is often understood as being new.

The iPhone is revolutionary. The personal computer is revolutionary. The automobile is revolutionary. All these are revolutionary ideas, but none of them are entirely new. They were not just conjured up from thin air.

If you were to put bill gates, Steve jobs, and henry ford in separate rooms from birth until they reached old age, they would not have developed the revolutionary ideas that they did. Ideas are not born from sheer thought, they are built by expanding on the ideas of others. Pushing the boundaries of previous ideas.

So where do others lead you? How do you revolutionize your space? and maybe that’s not the goal for your space. Maybe you don’t want to create a revolutionary space. that is fine. you don’t have to. Nobody is forcing you to change the world.

but you are going to have to gather inspiration from some source. You need to be able to communicate to your architect what your inspiration has been thus far. Where have you come from and where do you want to go with your design. Understanding the past in your life is almost just as important as understanding where you want to go in the future.

You might be saying, “Marc, what do you mean by that?”

What I mean is that if you can convey where you came from. The home that you grew up in. The home that you might have transitioned to, the space that you evolved in. What shaped your current style. What shaped your current interests? What is your passion? How did you arrive at your passion and how does it translate into your current needs for your space?

The goal of renovating or creating architecture for you is not just the simple task of saying that you want to add a master bedroom, and we tack one on. If that is what you want you don’t need an Architect for that. Although you might find an architect to do that for you, but you are not going to be interested in the fee. And the reason is that you are not seeing the value for that fee. Ok I can’t get off on that today. Remind me to touch base on where I was going with that one. I might try and do an episode on it.

The goal of creating your space is to create a space that works for you not only functionally, but also provides value to your life. Something that understands your past and pushes you towards the future. Wow this episode is getting pretty etherial and deep, but I believe that good architecture can drive you. It can guide you or direct you towards or if bad away from achieving your goals in life.

So I mentioned that the purpose of collecting images is not to create a literal translation of the image. Let me repeat that. The goal with collecting images is not to literally copy what has previously been done, but rather to get or gain inspiration for your space and what direction you want to take it.

Find multiple sources for inspiration. Perhaps the modern magazines are not exactly what you are looking for. Are they trying to meet a style that is not entirely you. Do you not really connect with any of it.

Perhaps you look back further to images from the past. what is it that you like from historical images compared to the images spanning the pages of today’s magazines?

Maybe you look outside of the current media. Look around you to your current built environment. Maybe it’s not even to actual architecture.

There was a husband and wife that were wanting to build a new house. They search and search for the ideal architect. After thorough research they find a highly decorated Architect that has multiple honors and awards, many prestigious projects. They say to each other, “this is the person, this is the architect that will be able to design our house and meet all of our goals.”

So they grab their bags and meet with the architect. As they are walking to his office they see award after award on the wall. He briefly mentions some of them along the way pointing out some of his past work. They sit down and the architect starts to ask them questions about what their goals for the house are.

The wife pauses and looks at her husband. She reaches into her bag and pulls out a kitchen faucet. She places it on the architects desk and says, “Design us a house around this.”

Do you guys remember this Kohler faucet commercial? If you don’t that was a commercial that was running for some time and in the commercial the architect kind of gives a look of “what” or “shock”. How could they would ask such a thing. And I does appear that way at first.

But in reality it was actually pretty brilliant commercial because it is entirely possible. Of course the architect is going to need more goal information from the husband and wife, but as far as the design or the aesthetics of the home. The durability the construction the details, it could be entirely design around that Kohler faucet.

If that’s the owners goal it is entirely possible to study the years of evolution and inspiration that went into designing that faucet. It could be very much translated to the architecture for that couple. The function. The style. All those could provide guidance and inspiration. And the reason the couple took the faucet to this award winning architect was not to embarrass or make him feel like his ideas are not important but rather because they knew he would know how to translate the faucet into architecture.

I didn’t come to this realization the first time I watched it but probably the third time. I thought yes, you could design a house around that faucet. You definitely could.

I will put a link to this faucet in this commercial so you can see it in the show notes. It is a good looking faucet and could definitely be designed around.

KOHLER K-19774-4-CP Symbol Tall Single Control Lavatory Faucet, Polished Chrome

So you have your faucet or your inspiration, how do you keep it all organized? How are you planning on communicating to your architect what your likes and dislikes are?

We are in the digital age. Of course you know that. You are listening to a podcast. Almost all our images these days never make it to the printed world. We keep our images on the screen. You can do this how ever you like. Digitally or analog. I suggest digital but of course I am bias.

My suggestion would be to start 2 folders. Call one your Love folder. The other will be your Loath folder.

When you start to come across images begin creating copies of those images in one of your two folders. During this process it is very important for you to really think about what it is you like about the spaces, furniture, details, etc…

This will be the time when you will really need to narrow down those ideas. Edit and edit again. Don’t collect the images you kinda like. Hold on to those love images. That is why the two folders are called love and loathe. They are the images that drive your emotions. Images that motivate and encourage you to push through the challenges that a construction project might bring.

Once you have collected your inspirational images, sit down and take some notes about the images. what is it that you love about them. What are the colors the textures, materials that you relate to. How do you see them being used in your space?

By this point you have put in a lot of time and thought into what you like and what you don’t. You should be more prepared to have discussions with your architect and relate your ideas to them. Remember, don’t get locked into creating a reproduction of the images you have collected. These are inspirational. Images that can guide you down the path to creating your own unique home.

“What story are you trying to tell? Start by piecing it together with images.”

If you missed last week, I talked about the Tiny house. There was a give away where if you sign up to the newsletter from the episode 34 page you would be sent an email with construction drawings of that tiny house. That is still going on and will be there forever hopefully. But go to and search for tiny house. or episode 34 and you will find the page so you can download the pdf.

Thanks for listening and I will talk to you next week.

I hope that you are having great success with the planning and construction of your home. If you want to get in touch with me please reach out to me on twitter or google plus.

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