Good design results when form and function are in balance. In his column this month on pg. 10, Luis Jauregui, AIA, argues that too often these days, function takes a back seat to form. This imbalance creates homes that look good splashed across the glossy pages of consumer magazines and on popular home design TV shows, but don’t quite serve the needs of those who must live within them, he says.
When setting out to conquer a client’s project, the goal must be to satisfy that client’s needs, not to have the home featured in a magazine or on TV. The publicity should be a bonus, not the mission. At Residential Design + Build magazine, we’re always looking for homes that stand out; homes that solve challenges and provide the functionality their owners desire, in styles that are varied so we’re not always presenting you with basically the same home issue after issue.
Consider the home near San Francisco featured on the cover of this issue and designed by CCS Architecture. It’s really more of a homestead than a home, because the owners wanted it that way. At least five structures, each with its own purpose, are spread out — disconnected physically, but joined in theory. The combination garage/activity room is a hundred or two feet away from the main home, to create a feeling of destination for those wanting to play a game of pool, rather than having it be a spur-of-the-moment afterthought. The entire compound of structures exists in a way that balances form and function.
Another example of form balancing with function is the home on pg. 24, constructed on what some city officials deemed “unbuildable.” The team at Dominic Tringali Architects figured out ways not only to fit a home on this challenging lot with tight setbacks and limited access to natural light, but to create a home that can sell in this high-end community, that also is efficient and that sends daylight into almost every room of the home. It is another example of form in harmony with function.
We, too, at RD+B magazine believe in balancing form and function, which is why you’ll notice some design changes in this issue. These little changes — or tweaks, really — are subtle yet important ways to bring balance to you, our audience.
These tweaks represent our way of working on our business, not only in it. It’s too easy to put blinders on while plugging away within your business to get through tough times, without paying attention to if what you’re doing still makes sense.
We’re always looking for ways to improve, and so should you. Be proactive about improvement, not reactive, and be on the lookout for changes forced upon you as the economy improves, and don’t cut corners. Now’s the time to bring your form and function in balance.