The Puzzle of Architecture

by Mark

I am taken by the idea that architectural design is the resolution of a puzzle.  Robin Boyd, Australian architect and author of ‘The Puzzle of Architecture’, had an image of a jigsaw spilled out of its box with pieces “in an uncommunicative jumble, some face down”.  This notion views the design process from the positive stance of a challenge rather than a ‘problem’ with all its negative connotations.

Luis Mansilla, an architect based in Madrid, sees architecture as “a game in which the client can play”.  He talks of having a system but leaving room for surprise.  Teresa Moller, Brazilian Landscape Architect, talks of “finding the treasure of each place, uncovering what is already there”.  Implicit in this idea is the tension between a rational deductive process, the treasure hunt, and willful inspiration, the ability to see the treasure.

Architects are faced with many obstacles in taking on the ‘game’.  Boyd’s description of some of the pieces of the puzzle – the budget, legal restrictions, building regulations, town-planning considerations – are still relevant today, nearly 50 years on.  However, we can take encouragement from Luis Mansilla’s enlightened mantra that, “while not everything is possible …. the possibilities are endless”.

Edmiston Jones understand that what sets us apart is our ability to solve our client’s puzzle, whatever that may be.  It is our skill to collaboratively synthesize information with innovation and intelligence so that we uncover the treasure  –  that is often already there!


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