The Rustic Roots of Modern Design

Have you noticed that modern architectural design often celebrates forms that, in another time and place, could be considered rustic? On a recent drive through rural Idaho and Washington, I encountered numerous examples of agricultural buildings in pastoral settings. Barns, stables, grain elevators, silos and windmills—all of these are built from basic forms stripped down to their essence. Cylinder, cube, cone: ultimate simplicity. Modern reinterpretations of these forms as are seen as chic and avant-garde.  But it turns out minimalism is nothing new. In an agricultural setting, these buildings were originally designed not to impress but to be useful and efficiently express their intended purpose. But, like their contemporary descendants, they offer something beyond the pragmatic. They seem to have…

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Rough Rendering in the Design Process

Putting pencil to paper and designing by hand is always the first stage of the Briggs Architecture process. In this blog lead architect Don Briggs explores how “rough rendering” nourishes his creative practice and opens the door for clients to co-create spaces with their architect. Doodles, sketches and rough renderings are essential to the Briggs Architecture design process. Sketching a concept brings it to life and gives it room to breathe; it gives the artist a space to explore and to edit, to think and rethink. And it makes sharing possible – when abstract concepts come alive on the page the architect and client can visualize and create together.  In the “rough” stage our goal is not to create beautiful…

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Timeless Design: It’s All in the Details

John Ruskin, the leading English art critic of the late 19th century, said   When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece. Masterpieces express a sense of grandeur and unity, but the building blocks of a masterpiece are thoughtful, finely crafted details. And, like masterpieces, details don’t come easy. The design, craftsmanship and planning it takes to execute fine details are often unseen and uncelebrated tasks—this is why paying full attention to the process of detail creation takes not only skill, but also commitment, integrity and passion. Even architects are often too preoccupied with schedules and screens to pay attention to the finer points of the buildings we walk through every day. But when we slow down, the rich…

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Staircases in Architectural Design

We believe every element of a home is worth our attention. I like to think of the experience of entering a home and moving through it for the first time. Later on, we might experience it daily and routinely just like an old and familiar friend. It’s worth considering how elements such as entries, greeting spaces, transitions between spaces and the outdoors, and stair access between floor levels can affect the day to day life of a home and the memories we build over time. Stair cases are often overlooked and designed as an afterthought. They are designed to be moved through and perceived as transitional spaces not destinations in themselves. But the act of climbing or descending the stairs…

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