Everyone we have built for, they have a dream of a house, but they
don't know how to express it. Expressing that dream for them is
the challenge we have found worth our commitment.
Colin Summers 1998
We look at each design problem as an encapsulated set of
constraints, and initially we are focused on exploring them.
Primary among these is the site, which is difficult to change and
unique to each project. The site will help dictate a
You employ stone, wood and concrete, and with these materials
you build houses and palaces; that is construction. Ingenuity is at
work. But suddenly you touch my heart, you do me good, I am
happy and I say: ‘This is beautiful.’ That is
architecture. Art enters in.
Le Corbusier 1927
That quote is probably on more architecture web sites and
brochures than any other. It is the lofty goal of most practicing
architects: reaching beyond merely satisfying their clients barest
needs, and even expressed desires, and creating something
expressive, something which carries and communicates some
We have been fortunate that we have rarely been forced to
accept commisions which didn't interest us. Mercenary work is
mind-numbing. On the other hand, if the project is interesting it
doesn't matter how difficult the work it, we never tire of it.
The generating geometry, mentioned above, sometimes leads to a
bit of plan fixation.
The career issues Steven Ehrlich has faced for nearly twenty
years in Southern California are those that confront all
architects of good faith and strong ambition — the
anxiety of influence, the dilemma of synthesis, the search for
identity, and the emergence of a voice.
Joseph Giovannini 1998,
Introduction to Steve Erlich's monograph
Yes. In spades: anxiety, dilemma, search and emergence. Although
that last one seems to be a tiny scratching still, a still too-tentative
reaching for something that could
be; mostly we find
ourselves pre-occupied with the first three.