Client Relations Architect
In the history of architecture there has often been an invisible contradiction between what the architect wants to design and what the client wants to build. Sometimes an architect will become so wrapped up in his personal aesthetic vision and values that what the client likes and dislikes becomes secondary, or is overlooked altogether. When this happens, the home or building created may win design awards and look beautiful to a trained architectural eye, but the client or the people who have to live in it may not like it very much. Often times, landlords or tenants will come back and change things a second or third time to better suit their aesthetic or purpose.
At the root of this problem is the very nature of architecture, to create. An architect is passionate about the creative artistic aspects of his work. You want to create something new and different and put yourself and your vision in your work. Often, however, the growth and development of an architect involves the painful realization that their unique vision does not usually count for much. The client, after all, is paying for it and has to live with the house or building long after the architect has finished and has moved on to other projects. The architect is there to serve the client and not the other way around.
The other professions rarely have this problem. Doctors and lawyers are almost always recognized as the decision makers and authorities in their respective fields. Science and written law are established and much less subject to interpretation compared to artistic values and visions.
Unfortunately, the architectural community and established schools have often made the problem worse. Architects never get famous for how well they satisfy their clients. They are famous for the unique and creative style or image that they have managed to present to the world. Architecture awards are given to designs or buildings that are creative and almost never to buildings that perform their function perfectly or fully satisfy their clients. In many cases, world famous architects have never had the opportunity to build more than a small handful of buildings due to this contradiction between the client’s needs and the architect’s creative vision.
If you approach a world-famous architect with a project, it is assumed that you, as a client, are buying that architect’s creative vision 100 percent. You as a client become an extension of the architect’s vision and not the other way around. Of course, the client has generally had ample opportunities to review the famous architect’s body of work beforehand because of the exposure the architect has garnered in the media. You like his work and his aesthetic values and you hire him, or not. Of course there are architecture studios that are almost the opposite. They are more customer-oriented than design-oriented. They often become financially successful thanks to customer loyalty and referrals, but they rarely receive media attention or become famous due to the conservative nature of their work and business.
Ultimately, the best solution for most established architects is to balance the two extremes and become a master to the client. The architect presents the client with various design and style options and the pros and cons of each and listens carefully to the client’s needs and tastes. This establishes a dynamic synergistic relationship. Together they decide the image and vision of the architectural creation.