Interview with Architecture Editor, Paul Keskeys
What inspired your interest in architecture and pursuing a degree in the field?
From a very young age, the idea of designing in three dimensions fascinated me. In graphics class at school, we were taught to draw the interior of a room in two-point perspective, and it was amazing to me that you could illustrate complex spatial qualities on paper. A childhood obsession with video games like Sim City also planted the seed — it was less about designing individual buildings, and more about creating places that would be inhabited and used by people in everyday life.
Further down the line, my combined curiosity for both the arts and sciences in high school fueled my interest in studying architecture at university. From there, my appreciation for how the built environment affects every part of life — social, economic, political, environmental — only grew as I studied and eventually qualified to practice.
What do you think the biggest mistakes new homeowners make design wise?
One major error many people make, particularly when undertaking major work to remodel their newly purchased home, is to try to save money by neglecting to hire an architect. People often baulk at the short-term expense of consulting a design professional when it comes to internal renovations or modernization, but it is important to recognize that a good architect can add real value to your home in the long run.
When significant changes to the layout are undertaken, involving an architect is hugely beneficial — not only with regards to the design, but also for project management, as a professional’s know-how can reduce the chance of delays that will ultimately increase costs. With an architect’s combined logic and creativity, the finished home will — more often than not — be worth more than one that was modified without their input. This is where the true value of an architect’s expertise lies.
If there’s one current trend in architecture you’re excited about what is it and why are you excited?
I am very excited about the growing potential for the web to help fund public interest design and humanitarian architecture projects, with more creative people harnessing crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo. We recently covered Knitknot Architecture’s campaign to crowdfund a school in Nicaragua. They successfully achieved their goal in May; I’m delighted for them and the project has given me renewed faith in the potential for small creative firms to get innovative projects like this off the ground.
Beyond crowdfunding, I believe that the next revolution for designers could well be related to the wider concepts of the sharing economy. Companies like WeWork, Uber and Airbnb have proven that utilizing the sharing economy as a business model can work across multiple disciplines — how might that work for architects and other creative industries? Designers should think about these emerging formats and their potential to transform our own disciplines in the future.