There was a game I played when I first began work as an architect to keep the passion alive. It was called small projects.
The game basically involved reducing any given task to its smallest distinct parts in order to understand how they were all related, a humanising of each task in the faceless grind of professional practice. A meeting with a client became a task of how certain words put together in particular ways could end in a new idea built or an opportunity lost. Site work became a project of understanding the subtle differences of each contractor's operation and the bearing that had with how they built. The design of a door entailed the reassessment of each joint to see if the whole could be made any more effectively. The design of a house began with the single activity that a family related itself most to, and a master plan was reduced to relating the simplest cultural fundamentals of food, work, travel, learning, rest and play. Basic functions so taken for granted, like what happened just before sleep and right after waking or how toilets were used, the way roof eaves functioned or how gutters really worked, each served as a beginning to subvert the dominant paradigm. And the discovery was that the beauty of each and every project was less found in how they actually turned out than how the design of each was informed by the dynamics of use and the intricate relationships of elements or events around them. Relevant design was not merely about the form of the project, it was about why and how the project was formed.
That was and still is, the basis of smallprojects, less the registered name of a company or about size than it is about a process grown from the specifics of any one context. The scale of work may have increased and narratives become more complex, but it is still about how the large elements only ever find meaning in the joints where they meet, and of how the big picture is less about making large things radical than it is a radical way to look at the small. And it is about how the specificity of processes and place narrate concepts, the poetry of making and the collective junctions that bind them all.
steel entry mat
dining table #3
safari roof house
black and white house
mule system workstation
steel & white bath