In architectural practice we meet clients of differing needs and requirements, and its up to us to come up with a program, vocabulary and vision for the edifice they wish for us to design.
The clients in this case were a new a typology to our young practice, they are the successful senior professionals who after years abroad wanted to return home. An additional challenge was providing the design service while the client was in another country.
To give a general idea of the requirements, the clients wanted a house to come home to when they were in the country, to rest from their professional lives abroad. They wished to entertain family and friends, hence its location in their province, close to their roots. It would also be where they would eventually retire. They factored in provisions for a large extended family as well as creature comforts they have been used to like hot water provisions, internet connectivity, wide spaces, public area opening to a garden, ample kitchen and eating areas among others.
The house was sited to maximize the space behind it, while still accomodating owner’s and guests’ parking who may be staying overnight. Care was taken to give light and air in the public and private spaces resulting in the current window distribution. There was a northernly exposure in the frontage-right which allowed some glass windows to be sized larger than usual particularly near the main stair. The utility areas and garage were used to buffer against the afternoon sun, with wide eaves at the veranda and foyer to protect against times when the sun is low.
Inside, the ground floor is the main stage of all the activities, wide clearances were provided for the young and the elderly. There are provisions for an entertainment center, kitchen and guests particlarly for eating and entertaining. Utilities are suppose to be low maintenance and good quality, an example is the decision to use long lasting LED lights mounted not in the high ceiling, but rather on the walls for easy access
Some of the comforts and provisions were señorita stair risers for easy access, grab bars in the shower and water closet of the masters bathroom, and the contractor suggested kitchen hardwares and accessories, so that users need not stoop or reach too far for the items theyre looking for.
For the architecutal style the client leaned towards a two tiered design with a roof. A relaxed style with sweeping lines was adopted for a laid back feel. Simplified accents to be colored in contrast to the house walls, and in uniformity when features needed to be down played.
One of the project’s challenges was the communication with the client, because they were based abroad at the time. The internet, mobile device technology like the ipad, provided economical solutions. Initial client and architect meetings were conducted in person, but the majority of the design meetings were conducted with the skype app allowing for direct feed back. To make a visual connection during presentations the Mighty Meeting app was a useful aid. Later on during construction, because of the fast speed of the internet in the location, we were able to use skype again, to tour the client through the project weekly with the contractor, so changes, consultations and directives were quickly given despite the client being abroad.
At this project’s conclusion a great deal was developed in terms of design strategies to meet the requirements of the client and experience in dealing with them from nearly an ocean away with the help of modern yet free softwares and apps.