“One doesn’t choose projects, one chooses clients”
To further my exploration on the enfilade, I started unpacking one of my diamonds further – Well Coates’ Isokon building, a project developed closely with the clients, Molly and Jack Pritchard. Architecture is not possible without the client, even if the client is the architect themselves. In a way, architects are always required to adapt to the various needs of the client, to shift our approaches and talk about our work to a variety of different audiences.
We are subject to an endless variety of different personalities that differ greatly from one another. Whether it is the lover, the aristocratic patron, the industrialist, the mother or the Asian tycoon, we are expected to entertain, impress and lure these individuals to buying our ideas. The quite thus is inevitably the apparatus for a building to get built.
We inevitably design for clients and without them, architecture would be very different. We do however recognise how important they are for realising our dreams. And through that, we’ve developed a few tricks over the course of time.
In this image, I’ve started to think of a variety of clients that have nonetheless contributed greatly to the creation of buildings – all placed within the working environment of an architect.
Peggy Guggeenheim – Art Collector
Edith Farnsworth – Doctor and Admirer
Josephine Baker – Dancer and Client of Adolf Loos’ Josephine Baker House
Juscelino Kubitschek – 21st President of Brazil (commissioned Brasilia)
Bess of Hardwick – Elizabethan Courtier
Cosimo de’Medici – Member of the Medici family
Henry Ford – Powerful Indutrialist
Lord Peter Palumbo – Aristocratic patron (no.1 Poultry)
Vanna Venturi – Mother of Robert Venturi
Stanley Ho – Asian Tycoon know for his Macau Casinos
Sir Nicholas Serota – Major Gallery (Tate Modern)
Miuccia Prada – Fashion House (Prada)
Prince George – Playboy Prince (Royal Pavilion by John Nash)
Charles and Ray Eames – Furniture designers and close friends of Eero Saarinen
Sainsbury Brothers – Supermarket Chain turned Art Collector
Damien Hirst – Artist and Gallery Owner
Kanye West – Rapper
These 17 individuals can then be reduced into a few categories of clients that differ largely from one another. From the intimacy of your mother or your lover to the professionalism required by corporations or institutions, we are expected to mould our personalities eventually concealing and revealing bits of our identity that are relevant to each individual.
I will continue to situate my project in the typology of a palace, taking the very notion that its main function is to constantly entertain and impress their guests. The same function can then be applied to the notion of the architect trying to acquire a commission from a client.
To continue the exploration of the enfilade and the model that constantly codes and decodes it, I would like to start manipulating the various views and arrangement of the enfilade according to each client. This then starts to act as an encryption device for how the architect presents his/her “collection” to their audience
I would like to explore how the relationship of a client to the architect can be used as a narrative to how the enfilade and the palace constantly encrypt and re-arrange itself whenever a different client comes in.
This could then start commenting on the various extents we are required to go to secure a client and their approval.
However, we don’t always accept commissions and sometimes find ourselves really rather not dealing with a certain clients. If this is case, there will be ways for the enfilade to present itself as completely undesirable.
As good as we are, we are also not perfect and of course the enfilade will make mistakes and cause slippages, sometimes showing spaces that aren’t meant to be shown.
The concept of the vault or the end is then exemplified by this notion of privacy. The enfilade is also symbolic to intimacy and status where the first set of rooms are always the most public and the rooms towards the end, the most private.
In a way, who the architect really is can be compared to this notion of the vault, a protected and unattainable, impenetrable object.
These are a few thoughts for now.