The architect’s home

Many architects’ wives despair that their home will never be finished.

An architect’s own home is an ongoing project, that spawns a myriad of other related ongoing projects, that will be engrossing, time-consuming, costly, and unfinished. The project will, from its conception, be multi-staged, with plans for future developments and extensions that will complete the grand scheme. These plans will include a folly or two – perhaps a tower that caters to the architect’s desire to escape the family, or an extraordinary tree house that caters to his desire to remove the children to a completely different zone. The folly may well be constructed before other parts of the home, considered more important by the architect’s wife (eg larger, separate rooms for the children who are sharing tiny bunk rooms).

The architect’s wife vaguely remembers that she once shared the vision that was the idea of their new home, but has long grown cynical about her architect’s ability to find the time, interest and funds to complete it. Every new home project the architect starts (a deviation from and elaboration on the initial plan) is a reminder of the infinitely deferred nature of the home itself.

The fact that their house site has a perfect aspect doesn’t give the architect’s wife the satisfaction it should. She browses the real estate pages on the weekends, and fantasizes about moving into a house that is finished. The perfect aspect of their own home site becomes a source of frustration as these other houses she may show her husband are outright rejected by him on the basis that their sites are nowhere near as good as their own.

This enables the architect to avoid showing his contempt for the design of the house for sale He may not want to offend his wife who obviously likes it.

The children of architects may feel special growing up in a house that is very different from their friends homes, knowing that their house is aesthetically superior to every other house around, even architect designed homes (see A Jealousy of Architects pt 2). However much they know this, the opinions of peers will eventually matter to them. They come to wish they lived in ‘normal’ houses like everyone else, familiar and respectable, with a traditional entry foyer that has a coat/hat rack, a plain staircase with a standard bannister, and other things deemed distasteful by the architect. Such secret longings might include:

privacy from the street and from other members of the family

rooms that can be fully closed off from other parts of the house

a media room

rumpus room with bar

trampoline and play equipment in the yard rather than their unusual architect designed ‘tree house’ thingo.

vancouver bc tree-house demolished

(Architect’s wife stands by her man, when he receives notice from council to demolish his latest folly, built for the kids -not council approved).

(The architect’s wife may crave privacy)

The children of architects also crave soft furnishings, animal pattern minky blankets, enormous recliner armchairs, large screen televisions, and indonesian furnishings like everyone else. They think the dog would like a doggy bed with a colourful pawprint pattern, but know that such items would never meet the approval of their architect parent.

pet bed….

animal print minky blankets: banned from the modernist home.


2 responses to “The architect’s home

  1. Love the photo with the exotic boat-tree house!

    It’s true that architects love awards nights but that 95% of them are bound to be disappointed. This can lead to great despair and the Architect’s wife must do her best to placate her frustrated and clever partner. She must agree that the jury is biased, that the awards go to other architects who were darlings of a certain university faculty at a particular time. And for all the other reasons blogger, that you mention.

    The Architect’s wife can gain satisfaction however, from the knowledge that when her Architect wins an award it is because he is talented, clever and in that particular year the jury has no biases whatsoever.

  2. PS: So true about the follies. I know of…ahem…an architect who has built two expensive follies in the family home that are seldom used. But one of them does enhance the roof when you’re looking at an ariel shot from google earth.

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