When I sit down to design, the most important thing in my mind is what the actual spaces will look and feel like as well as how they are intended to be used. Big deal, right? Everyone thinks about that, right? Yes, and no. Not only does each space need to be considered, but the way the spaces relate to each other and the synergistic gains that can be created will add to the basic design of a space. Any designer can lay out the boxes in multiple fashions. But it takes an architect to create the composition of the spaces that fits the needs of a project. The three diagrams below will help me to explain.
In the first, a simple rectangular space. A room like any other. It has size, space and a presence that can be used by anyone for a function of their choice. All builders can put this up and do a fine job of it.
If more space is needed, there is a new room built. It is a nice room. And, like the original, it has all of the elements of the built space. And the additional cost.
But the image below is where architecture is made. The two rooms have created a space between that serves multiple uses. It may have its own use, it may just serve as an entry into the one room, but if so, it also serves in relationship to the second room.
The example above is a generic way of showing the architectural process of space creation. The two 'rooms' above may be 4 walled rooms in a house with a shared living room and hall. Or they may be two skyscrapers with a plaza below. But how they relate to each other, and to the space between is critical to understand how a place becomes 'A Place.'
Thought must be given to the way each of these spaces are entered, left and relate to each other. Does the ceiling height match that feel, accentuate it or get in the way of the natural hierarchy and flow? Are the windows placed to focus on the other room, the space between or neither?
As you can see, any designer can create a box or a series of boxes and put them together. It takes an architect to consider how they relate to each other. The decisions are endless, as are the considerations, but that is what makes a project unique.