Re: architecture
From: JoycePlath (
Date: Wed, 3 May 95 23:35 CDT
Does a masters in architecture and sixteen years of practice but no licence
count in your challenge?  I am the designer, chief developer, and burning
soul for Marsh Commons in Arcata California.  I don't want to argue that all
work done by architects is terrific but I must say that most houses I see
designed by owners or contractors lack good traffic patterns, solar
orientation, creative solutions to lighting problems, appropriate site
planning and much more.
I am certain that our group could not have come up with a plan that took
advantage of our views and sunshine, provided large and small gathering
places as well as generous transitions between private and community
territories, solved some difficult natural lighting problems, developed
building sections that will be fun to live in and make our modest homes feel
bigger,  and transformed a very ugly industrial building into a handsome
common building, without imput from a design professional.  In fact without
my imput as a designer the site would never have been purchased because it
took a practiced vision to see its transformation from a run down truck shop
with a large gravel parking lot into a special place to live. Along the way
the group process certainly made significant input.  I am not a primadonna,
our design is the result of all our efforts but to imagine that we would have
as successful a project without someone without a lot of architectural
experience is just not very likely.  
I don't think the critical issue is formal architectural training but
experience at design and site planning surely must not be dismissed so
easily.  To do it well  person or group needs more than a set of guidelines
or principles.  

                                           Joyce Plath, Marsh Commons

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