I first read about a phenomenon known as “parasitic” architecture in 2006 shortly after beginning my undergraduate architecture program. New, contemporary additions constructed on old, often traditional homes were popping up all over architecture magazines and online publications. Images came pouring in of brightly colored metal additions on old brick homes and all-glass additions constructed on traditional homes were all the rage. These kinds of radical architectural designs are still prominent and popular for now, but modern architects have been questioning the validity and necessity behind such outlandish designs. Are architects just creating bizarre forms for public attention or to attempt winning architectural awards, or are they truly being sincere in their attempts to create a new kind of beautiful?
While a new floor plan or a new façade style can be intriguing, even attractive, clients and architects alike must remember to consider the flow of a home and how the design serves and delights the occupants of each space. If functionality is crucial to you as a home buyer, and it should be, always imagine how you would use a space now as well as how you would use the same space five or ten years from now. Will you eventually want to rearrange walls? Will main spaces like the kitchen and living spaces serve you and your guests well over time or do they limit how you’ll operate day to day?
As an Architect, I treat each space I design as a member of the family I’m designing for. Every space should have an intentional relationship with occupants full of functional options. If a room can only be arranged one way that room will eventually bore the occupants over time. Like a marriage, homes need to be grounded in purpose, flexible in function, and not simply based on looks. Beware of those trendy trends!
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