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  • Afonso Almeida Fernandes

Architecture: FOCUS ON THE CLIENT or FOCUS ON ART?

As with all good questions, it's meeting half way where we can find balance and manage to find an answer. In this specific case, we have to distinguish two important issues: architecture as a space projection for use and experience, and architecture as a work of art.







The question of the architect's focus in the conception of a new project is a topic that is often talked about, with an apparent dichotomy between the focus on the client for which the project is being created, and the focus on art, where its representation and adaptation is an architect's own brand.


Like any other artistic profession, architecture, when transposed into a business model, is faced with these questions: where is the focus? What should I prioritise? I want a project in the image of the designs created by the client who is wanting to build its own house or, on the other hand, a final result that is a representation of my work, as an architect, of the artistic views that inspire me, with my signature easily recognized?

It is curious to look at architecture and, particularly, at the architect, and see how this technical and mathematical aspect coexists with an artistic side. It is true that in any artist, whether musicians, painters, chefs or sculptors, there is a scientific component, study and technique improvement. But, in these cases, the artistic side overlaps in the conception of the work.

As with all good questions, it is in the middle we reach balance, and where we reach an answer. In this specific case, we have to distinguish two important issues: architecture as a projection of a space for use and experience, and architecture as a work of art.


The focus is on the client when they tells us what they have envisioned for the particular project. The way you think you will live the final construction must be at the center, namely starting with the most basic - the dimension, division of space or number of rooms. The way in which it is realized has a lot of art, and it is on it that the architect then focuses, seeking inspiration not only in this initial briefing, but in the surroundings, in the architectural and even popular culture of the space that surrounds it and in the artistic currents themselves.


It is curious to look at architecture and, particularly, at the architect, and see how this technical and mathematical aspect coexists with an artistic side. It is true that in any artist, whether musicians, painters, chefs or sculptors, there is a scientific component, study and technique improvement. But, in these cases, the artistic side overlaps in the conception of the work.


I have already said in another article that the added value of architecture in a project goes through a process in which a technical and artistic team, which has the knowledge and experience, projects a space for those who will live in it, personalized for a specific use. On the other side is the person, family or company. They've dreamed the space, thought about it for a long time, and have a specific idea and they expect a result that meets this vision.

That's why I reinforce - in an architectural project, as in so many other projects, it is in the middle and in the balance that we find virtue. First of all, architecture focuses on the client, their needs and the project they have envisioned. Then follows an artistic conception of that plan and that desire. From here we have a working base for the following developments, which are made of advances and retreats between both parties - architect and client - based on the focus on what was presented by the client, but on the art that the architect brings with him. Both sides give in, both advance and, from this dialogue, the project is born.


I have already said in another article that the added value of architecture in a project goes through a process in which a technical and artistic team, which has the knowledge and experience, projects a space for those who will live in it, personalized for a specific use. On the other side is the person, family or company. They've dreamed the space, thought about it for a long time, and have a specific idea and they expect a result that meets this vision. This is a challenge that architecture faces every day, in a constant, not always smooth, dialogue between the team of professionals and the client families or companies.


Architecture, like any other art, has its scientific component, its artistic current, the intervention of the outside, and the participation of what surrounds us. The focus changes or we always have several focuses at the same time - on the client, on the art, on the project, on the surroundings and on the story. Architecture focuses on the whole and never on the part.