Probably the best advice I was given about one of my university projects was from Peter Salter.
Salter’s the type of architect who has only been commissioned to design a handful of buildings due to his unconventional approach to design and construction, besides his general awesomeness. On this occasion, he was invited to come and evaluate our studio’s final projects during and as I was an admirer of his work, I particularly wanted to hear his feedback.
Unfortunately he was quite unconvinced by my proposal to the point of saying “I just don’t get what you’re trying to achieve here”. Some architecture tutors, at this point, would leave to for a coffee or cigarette without explaining what they didn’t understand but to his credit, Peter continued ripping my scheme apart for a good half hour.
I think the best part of the discussion was that while it’s important to be emotionally attached to the building you’re designing, it was probably the first time I really felt a building actually change in my mind during a review, rather than in the studio afterwards. Previously, I had been too precious about my designs, despite knowing that an architecture school environment is aimed at developing your talents, not just being an arena to show them off.
Salter didn’t redesign my building for me, and the final design changed considerably from the scheme he saw, but it was a grounding experience that has honed way I question my designs ever since.
Building Design have just featured a brief summary of one of his lectures from 1991 (together with Chris Macdonald) and it reminded me how little press he receives compared to how much he rightly deserves.
There’s also some beautiful images by archidose of his work here.