I did not do my normal Friday post because I spent all day Friday working in Fayetteville, Texas, where we are designing a house for a long time family/friend. We had a lovely family dinner where I was delighted to see my two children pair off with our clients' two children. They played in and around the farmhouse and ran free all night long.
I should give you a little back story on Fayettevile. Clovis and Maryann Heimsath starting coming to Fayetteville some 40 years ago as a country retreat from the hectic life of Clovis' Houston Practice. Over time, they moved here permanently, and have become part of the interesting mix of long-time farming families and transplanted farmer/ranchers/vacationers, mostly from Houston. Clovis and Maryann have a great compound of restored farmhouses with names like the Hundred-Dollar House (which is how much they paid for it -- before moving it to their land). My family loves to come up here and experience aspects of what life used to be like (but with electricity and Internet access).
The One-Hundred-Dollar House
It is tantamount to the process of designing good client-driven architecture to really get to know who your client is, what they are trying to do, and where they are going in the future. With our church clients, much of this comes from our Community Forums, Design Retreat Workshops, and focus group meetings. With our residential clients, it comes from meetings and discussions, and it is especially helpful when we discover the house 'vision' together. (This happens as we explore images of houses, rooms, and details that resonate with our clients.)
Sometimes, however, the bond can go even deeper. As I have mentioned before, my wife and I are building a house for our family, and of course that is extremely personal. But these bonds can form in other ways, as well.
Architecture becomes even more special when you have a close relationship with the client and the contractor. In this case, the Contractor, Alvin Minarcik, who has built a number of projects for us in the Fayetteville area, is the son of a local contractor, and whose family went to school with Ben and his siblings. There is a great sense of old-fashioned trust and family even in the owner-contractor relationship.
View from the Bonus room above the Garage
We love doing work out here. Even at lunch yesterday, I had a chance to move over a table and sit with a potential client we are interviewing with next week.
Working in Fayetteville has been a wonderful experience, in part because of the history of relationships and community. But the sense of family we experience is not limited to Fayetteville; part of it comes from working together with our clients toward a common goal. Buildings create bonds -- not just between the people who come to live and work in them, but between the members of the team who work to make it happen.
Many times over the years, we have had the privilege to work with our clients over many phases of a building program. These relationships grow and deepen just as the building does -- and is part of why we love what we do.