In-Depth Post No. 2 2021

Progress so far

I just recently had my first meeting with my mentor Murray MacKinnon, so I’ll be adding some more in-depth information about him first.

During our meeting I asked him some questions about his career and how he got into his profession. I discovered that while he was in the architecture business, he focused mainly on client representation. In his own words, he prefers the “how do you make it work” aspect, over “the vision”.

As for my project itself, we looked at some architecture from Frank Loyd Wright, and talked a little about different architect styles. We then established a plan for my design. He recommended a list of steps in order to reach my goal of designing a small family home:

  1. Choose a site (see city hall for requirements for that site)
  2. Establish a function for your building
  3. Ask if your function can be carried out on the chosen site
  4. Identify any building restrictions (ex. height limit)
  5. Come up with solutions for restrictions (if relevant)
  6. Consider parking area
  7. Finally, use the “bubble diagram” method to sketch out a house

Bubble Diagram Example:

Furthermore, we discussed about what basic skills make an architect. He said that one of the most important skills is being able to visualise the design. This includes picturing the site conditions, assessing where the light comes from (East/West), and deciding what is the best use of the land you’re given.


Incorporating Three aspects from How to Have a Beautiful Mind: Agreeing, Disagreeing, and Differing

Green buildings, are, in my opinion, beautiful. They aren’t everybody’s cup of tea however. But Coincidentally, green buildings are one of Murray’s passions. Because of our shared interest we got to talking about some of the green projects that he has helped with during his career, as well as some talented green architects he had the pleasure to work with.

One particular green construct we discussed was the VanDusen Botanical Garden Visitor Centre. Here are some pictures of this breathtaking design:

As far as disagreements went, because I’ve only had one meeting, there wasn’t much of anything to disagree about.

As for differing, when we were talking about the basics of outlining the design of a house, we expressed different methods of going about that designing. While I started the conversation thinking a design should start from the outside and then the inside be fleshed out later, he proposed I try the opposite. This is when he recommended using the “bubble diagram” as a means of hashing out my ideas on paper.

However, he did not discourage me from trying it my way. He said that different techniques are used for and by people with various styles, and that technically there isn’t any wrong way of going about designing. I found this reassuring, and am eager to play around with these two methods to see which I find most appealing.

It just goes to show, even when there is no agreement per say, there are incredibly beneficial conversations to be had when no one is committed to a single idea or approach. When there is space to learn and develop for ourselves, then we can truly understand the topic at hand.


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