A friend of mine asked me recently what it was like for architects to typically be designing commissioned work. As an artist who was getting into doing more commissioned pieces for clients, she was curious how I dealt with the delicate relationship between a creative and a client. She acknowledged we were faced with a similar challenge, both having a creative vision for the way a project should turn out, but one that must find compromise with the vision and expectations of a client. It's a difficult thing to make peace with sometimes. So much time, effort, and passion is put into every design decision, yet the client is inevitably the one who has to approve of, or live with, the final product. I've grown to appreciate the challenge of designing for clients, in our case, mostly designing homes for young families. I no longer feel like a project could be considered complete without the input of the people who will be living in a space we design. It doesn't mean the process is easy or comes without its frustrations. Coming up with a functional and pleasant space that appeases the unique needs and lifestyles of every person we work with is hard to process to maintain an identity through. We want to maintain an idea of who we are as designers and what we're known for, yet this identity doesn't always align with our clients desires. And while accepting criticism of the work we do is hard, it's rarely personal. We should take criticism as an opportunity to show we can be dynamic and creative in our problem solving. A much greater sense of accomplishment is felt when design solutions are found that satisfy ourselves and our clients. That's when we know we've really done our job well. I think this challenge is one that resonates through many creative professions. Designing for other people, not just to satisfy our own egos, is a opportunity we should cherish as creatives. We should use our creative expertise to guide our clients and help their vision come into being. With experience and the talent that comes along with it, our self expression and creative vision can always be seen in that product.
Jonathan House, Project Manager, Tim Brown Architecture, LLC