The Architect's Notebook

Why A House Is Like A Human

Now – here’s an idea that warrants some deeper thought… a house is like a human body. Here’s why… 
A house has:

  • an overall design form – the general shape of a human that we all know and love
  • a structure that holds it up – the bones and muscles
  • a plumbing system – veins and arteries
  • an electrical system – nerves
  • an exterior cladding – skin
  • and some decorative elements – like the clothes we wear

So if you wanted to design a new human, you would therefore go to an architect – right? Well…umm…not exactly my point here.

While we are all given the general form and structure (for political correctness, the source of that gift will remain a mystery in this post!), we each then design our own external cladding – make-up, lipstick, fake tan, even tattoos and we control how much of that cladding we see with the decorative clothing elements we add. So we are all effectively “human designers” – granted, some of us are better at it than others!

To summarise, what makes us all designers of our own human form is our experience and training. From the first time we tried mum’s lipstick as a kid, we have been practicing and honing our design skills. As kids, our parents taught us the basic skills we needed to start out on our own and as adults we continually educate ourselves by observing others, reading magazines, blogs and watching TV shows to keep up with the latest trends.

So if houses are like human bodies, and we are all designers of human bodies, then simple mathematics (and lifestyle TV shows) would say that we are therefore able to design houses too – right? WRONG! That equation completely misses the two key factors I just mentioned – experience and training. While we all spend a lifetime building up our “human-designing” experience, residential Architects spend our lifetimes working on our house design experience as well.

Architects spend years at university learning the basic skills to start our careers. Once out in the workforce, we continually educate ourselves through the profession about new developments in design, building technology, construction and materials and each project and every building we enter teaches us something new. Have lunch with an architect and you will most probably find there is some building feature of the cafe you are in that has been recorded in their memory bank!

So if you are planning to build a new house or renovating your existing one, think carefully about who you trust to have the experience and training to design it.

By |2017-02-01T14:05:37+00:00September 22nd, 2015|0 Comments

About the Author:

Melissa Fleming
Principal architect, founder and director of Metroworks Architects, Melissa has been involved in the industry full-time since graduating with Honours from Deakin University in 1995. She has single-handedly developed her business into a multi-award winning, boutique practice that offers high quality and personalised architectural solutions - specialising in the design of new homes and major renovations.

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