Architecture, Art, and Self-Expression

Architecture, Art, and Self-Expression

Architecture, Art, and Self-Expression

By Paul McIntire, AIA

There is a bit of a Renaissance mindset in all of us architects. Many architects come to this field through various paths and have landed here after other pursuits and academic degrees. I was a painter as far back as age 12, went on to music, ultimately graduating from Berklee College of Music with a degree in Jazz Composition and Arranging, and finally, became an architect.

I feel that successful architects are endlessly curious about many forms of self-expression. That is why we gravitate toward the Arts.

What we ultimately do is tell a story, and that story is the element that holds all the various parts of a building’s design together as a cohesive whole. But how do we achieve that story in the language of architecture? It’s important to consider how other artists are successful in telling a story in the language of their own art discipline. This is where boundless curiosity comes into play.

Some ideas to consider are:

How do writers tell a story?

How do movie directors tell a story?

How do sculptors tell a story?

How do painters tell a story?

How do musicians tell a story?

When designing, architects take in many factors that will influence the story of a space or building. For example, the renovation or repositioning of a historic building will have a different design narrative than the blank slate of a new ground-up building.

But most of all, we strive to tell the story of our clients; their culture, identity, and aspirations as an organization. As no two works of art are the same, the stories of our clients are unique, and in turn, so are the aesthetics, functions, and spatial requirements of each project.

The more we absorb how other artists navigate through their work, the greater and richer our architecture ideas are informed.

Paul is an Associate Principal and Partner at Margulies Perruzzi, responsible for many of the renderings coming out of the office. His spare time is spent making sculpture, combining his love for painting and architecture with his improvisational jazz background. You can find Paul’s sculptures on Pinterest.