Creative Architecture

There is architecture, and then there is creative architecture. Most architectural projects begin with a precedent, a design rooted in a defined architectural style. For us, it is often the Mountain and Arts and Crafts styles. While most architectural projects are based on some architectural style or movement, innovative and creative projects stem from the open minds of homeowners teaming with inventive architects. I have selected five recent projects from various architects that ignite my creativity.

(Written by Jesse Hart, a creative University of Idaho Architecture student who interned with us)  

The Creative Architecture of Frank Gehry's Dancing House in Prague

Frank Gehry’s Dancing House in Prague

Dancing House, designed by Vlado Milunić and Frank Gehry, is located in Prague, Czech Republic. This project bends perspective and distorts the view of the built world; buildings like this reform what we think is possible.  It was originally named Fred and Ginger, to emulate the famous dancers Fred Astaire and Ginger Rodgers (Fred’s on the right).

This creative treehouse makes for whimsical hobbit architecture

Treehouse by Blue Forest

Built by the British luxury tree-house design-build firm Blue Forest, this project looks like it belongs in a sci-fi movie. The shape is inspired by a tree, but is like nothing else I have seen. It definitely begs a second look.

A fun, creative treehouse

Treehouse Point Bed & Breakfast

Designed and built by Pete Nelson, TreeHouse Point Bed and Breakfast near Seattle, with includes several tree-houses, sparks my childhood creativity. Tree-house dreams don’t end with childhood, but continue into adulthood. This project is a prime example of this.

A creative garage remodel

Repurposed Garage by Graypants

This old mid-1900’s garage in Vashon, Washington was repurposed by Graypants.  While not as surreal as the previous projects, it is creative in a different way. Being able to rethink the old, and to bring the dead back to life, requires a creative mind.

A creative multi-purpose building

L’arbre Blanc – Designed by Sou Fujimoto Architects, NLA, and OXO Architects

Above it the multi-purpose tower L’Arbre Blanc (White Tree) in Montpellier, France, was designed by Sou Fujimoto Architects, NLA, and OXO Architects. Inspired by the functionality of a tree, the balconies create shade and absorb sunlight. It is appreciable to look to nature for functional design inspiration; being able to do this requires a creative, problem-solving mind.

These projects show me how far a little creativity can go. I am thankful for ingenuity in the design world, for architecture being pushed in a direction it has never been; for fresh ideas and new perspectives. Where does your creativity take you?

Jesse Hart – Hendricks Architecture

As architects designing custom homes and other projects, we love hearing new ideas from clients and making them a reality.  Imaginative minds produce creative architecture.  Contact us here.

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Why Architects Study Art in School

“The mother art is architecture. Without an architecture of our own we have no soul of our own civilization.”

This above quote by architect Frank Lloyd Wright seems like quite the statement, and is not made to belittle all other arts, but to emphasize the importance of architecture as art. Many times, architecture is thought to be closely related to engineering, but in the words of architect Walter Gropius, “Architecture begins where engineering ends.” In fact, Art and Architecture belong to the same college in many universities. What, then, is the importance of art within architecture?

The practice of creating art, in its most raw sense, is necessary in architecture. By drawing an image by hand, the architect is able to put an idea onto paper. In hand rendering, different artistic media is used. As a student studying architecture, and interning with architect John Hendricks, AIA, I asked John two questions regarding art in his work:

How important is art in your daily practice as an architect?

“When I design, art comes into play much more than math.  Everything I look at, whether it’s plans, elevations, interiors, etc., needs to flow and work all at once and in all dimensions.  I remember my first art professor at Texas Tech, James Watkins, told us that this class (Art 101 or whatever it was called) will make you see things differently.  At the time, we were going over shades and shadows while painting stately homes across the street from campus.  That’s when I first started thinking about shades and shadows in a different light.  Now I think about those two elements all the time while designing.”

What is your favorite art medium to work with?

Pen and Ink Architect Elevations

Pen & Ink Elevations by John Hendricks, AIA

“Black pens on paper.  Several ideas can be sketched out quickly.  I don’t have the patience for watercolor.   I think watercolor renderings are great if it’s already designed, but if you’re designing with it, you have to wait for the water to dry while your mind is off on other tangents.”

Even in the age of digital media, hand-rendering provides images as unique as the architects themselves. The architect is not limited by their digital creation tools, and ideas flow directly from the hand onto paper.

Architecture as art is not solely confined to pen and paper. Undoubtedly, art affects emotions and is connected to the psyche. Line, form, color, value, and texture unite and create a response within the viewer. Certain pieces may make the viewer feel empty, while others bring light, life, and warmth. In much the same way, music creates an emotional response within the listener. Instruments come together in a symphony to create a piece of art greater than any specific instrument can achieve on its own. In architecture, familiar elements of art and music are utilized and unified; ultimately creating the framework of the spaces we live and work in.

Idaho International Center Architect Intern Rendering

Idaho International Center – digital rendering by Jesse Hart, Intern Architect, using Revit, Photoshop, and Lightroom. This was a University of Idaho School Project.

Winston Churchill stated, “We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.” The built environment around us shapes our daily lives. The layout of space becomes important in the execution of tasks, while the dimensions and character of spaces create intimacy or openness, all thoroughly planned and developed to result in a successful space.

Light is present and highly important through many facets of art: painting, photography, and architecture all included. Quality, quantity, and modification of light to accommodate tasks, save energy, and create a desired feeling of a space can make or break the success of a room and building as a whole. The study of art theory and the psychology of art are therefore important and within the study and profession of architecture.

Art is largely about creativity. Just about anybody can draw walls, cut holes into them for windows, put a roof over the top of it and call it a house, but it is the job and joy of the architect to tap into the potential of a space and  make it a creative work of functional art. It is this creativity and creative problem-solving that separates architects from one another. Just as Monet’s expressionist art is different than Picasso’s abstract style, Frank Gehry’s Deconstructivist architecture cannot be deemed as “better” than Mies van der Rohe’s modern style. They are each their own creative styles and expression as artists.

A building must be structurally stable and strong enough to stand the test of time; however, structural integrity is not all that defines the built world. If this was so, buildings would be cold, uninteresting, even uninviting.  The beauty of architecture as the “mother of the arts” is that it can really affect people’s daily lives. I realize I have been rampantly using quotes in this post, but this final line from Architect Richard Rogers rings true: “My passion and great enjoyment for architecture, and the reason the older I get the more I enjoy it, is because I believe we – architects – can affect the quality of life of the people.”

Jesse Hart, Intern Architect – Hendricks Architecture

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Hendricks Architecture specializes in custom Homes throughout North America. If you would like to know more about designing a custom residence, we would love to hear from you.

Jesse also takes beautiful photographs.  His work can be seen here at Jesse Hart Photography

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