I think both architects and clients underestimate the importance and frankly the complexity of deciding what to build. Architects call the list of items that a client wants to include in a project “the program”. Sometimes, but rarely, it is straightforward.
The things we include in this “program” are critical to so many aspects of the design. This list will affect the cost of the house, the size of the house, the complexity of the house, the short and long-term function of the house…and even the philosophy of the design.
We are beginning these discussions for the Nelson County mountain retreat. The house, barn, and other outbuildings will be built in many phases over many years to come. What is first? What is last? Both client and architect are searching for the guiding principles for the project. What is so wonderful, and also so challenging, is the chance to ask some very interesting and introspective questions about what is important to us and what is needed for good design.
One thing I am absolutely sure of is that finding the right questions, much less answering them, takes time. Don’t rush this phase of design – it is where all the real important stuff happens.