I am currently working on an incredibly cool new academic building at a local University. I have been fortunate to have had a great opportunity to be extremely involved in the development and execution of many of the important concepts and details of the building. I will, going forward, thankfully get to be involved in the construction administration phase and get to see, first-hand, the building that I have been consumed with for nearly two years become reality.
And yet, I have regrets.
The Design process is a funny one. I am very happy with how this building has developed since its early concepts; it has progressed and matured into a great design with some really wonderful spaces inside of it. There have been some really exciting challenges in figuring out some of the complexities of this building and, ultimately, I think that the correct decision (with regards to Design) has often been made. None of this, however, stops me from catching myself daydreaming about what this building could have been.
I keep this sketch pinned up on the board at my desk. It is an idea in it's infancy; a thought that I had about what this particular building could have been long after we had already established what it would be. It is just a quick doodle on paper, barely telling anyone more than what a handful of lines and some cross-hatching can possibly be worth. Yet, I suppose that is where the magic of Architecture often lies. To me, those few raw lines represented much more than what they are. They presented to me a fresh, new way of dealing with a very unique site and its views. They represented a concept about public space and circulation that was not all-together entirely different than the one that we had come up with, yet they gave an opportunity to be followed-through in a much different way. They amount to the raw sort-of concept assessment that I suppose I wish that we would have spent a little more time exploring in the beginning.
I guess that these amount to what you would call regrets. Maybe regret is too harsh of a word. As I previously stated, we have carefully designed a wonderful building that will be incredibly exciting and transformational for the community which it will serve. I use regret as a way to perhaps reference lessons being learned. I see, now, greater possibilities in the raw lines on paper than I probably ever have before. With the timeline of being awarded an architectural project to it becoming a constructed reality in the world being as long as it is, maybe these "regrets" are a vital part of that learning process. They serve as inspiration and motivation to press-on and not lose any time for exploration on the next project.
So, I have regrets. I hope that I always will.