Knowles Blunck Architecture employs an inclusive design philosophy which views each project, regardless of scale, as a unique design opportunity. The Firm strives to balance issues which confront all projects – site, program, image, economics – and coalesce them into a clear, elegant, comprehensive whole. This holistic sensibility informs the Firm’s practice methodology in which teams are empowered with shared responsibility for project performance at all levels – both aesthetic and financial. This model both generates and relies on a high quality staff to maintain the energy and build the knowledge base critical to this type of interactive architectural practice.
The Firm’s design philosophy is informed by these components:
The work of the Firm is concerned both with developing a clear expression of fundamental architectural elements (space, light, circulation, etc.) and of establishing an architectural “idea” that is used as a framework for decision-making from the earliest conceptual stages of a project to the refinement of its smallest details. There is a consistent effort to clarify often very complex architectural programs through a clearly understood plan organization.These evolve into simple architectural spaces that are enhanced with rich experiences of detail, texture, materials, and light. Understanding circulation, how one moves to, through, into, past, or out of spaces, is repeatedly at the core of the architectural concepts for these projects. Working to achieve a particular spatial experience takes precedence over creating an interesting but arbitrary plan. The creation of an appropriate visual sequence is more important than absolute physical symmetry or mannerist geometric plan manipulations.
Along with these basic architectural concerns, there is a growing interest in the physical and psychological aspects of materials. Recent projects have explored the ways in which the specific application and assembly of building materials can significantly affect how those materials are perceived. Of particular interest is the use of “common” or raw materials as finish materials. When crafted as though they are “finish materials”, they take on richness and depth ordinarily associated with fine materials that are much more expensive. Combining and contrasting dissimilar materials alters the perception of each one through the creation of a heightened awareness. The craft and care with which details, spaces, and buildings are assembled becomes crucial to the architectural idea. There are opportunities to reinterpret virtually every element in our environment through a questioning and re-evaluation of material appropriateness and their visual relationship to one another.
Of equal importance in the development of these works is the collaborative process by which they are completed. While the generation of a design idea may be a singular act, the elaboration, clarification, and refinement of that idea is best accomplished through a studio environment that encourages critical discussion and the testing of alternative notions. The results assimilate the collective experience of the architects in the design studio, borrowing and building upon previous design notions and projects.
For Knowles Blunck Architecture, the Idea, the Materials, and the Process all coalesce into a singular quest for Elegance. The concept of elegance, defined as both “grace and refinement in appearance” and “exactness and precision”, presents the difficult balance between art and science that has long been at the root of architecture. It is precisely this balance that sets the discipline apart from other design endeavors. With every project we ceaselessly strive for design solutions that are Elegant – solutions which embody both an understandable and memorable image and an intelligent, functional, and efficient organization. The Idea, The Materials, and TheProcess all serve this fundamental goal.