From time to time we are posed the question by clients: “Is that design element necessary?”
I’ve always found that a difficult question to answer as the ‘elements’ that clients may be looking to remove are often those things that create the very ‘architecture’ of the build. Most of the time the question arises from a need to reduce upfront costs, but what often gets missed is the value (both architecturally and economically) of the design element that is proposed and its reason.
As an example, the concept of a double height room has the capacity to increase the feeling of space and introduce more light to a home, without building anymore structure. Removing that double height space by filling it in with a floor above results in a reduction in light quality and a missed opportunity in terms of the 3 dimensional feel of the space. Its also a vastly different feel for its users.
In the case of our Willoughby build we have included several gestures and motifs (aka ‘elements’), one of which is our porthole window noted in the photo beside. Yes we could have made this a simple rectangular window which would have been less expensive, but its playfulness would be lost and its contribution to the atmosphere of the pool courtyard would be far inferior.
The more we practice the more we realise that it is these details that contribute so heavily to the architectural outcome. We acknowledge that budget is always a major component of any build project. However, we would encourage anyone renovating or rebuilding to firstly consider the ‘value’ of the element architecturally before deciding it may not be ‘necessary’. Besides, if we were to operate our entire lives on an ‘as necessary’ basis it would be a very dull existence :).