For me, the most important aspect of architecture is to arouse a sense of wonder. Not necessarily the wonder or shock at something that is overly unusual or “creative”, but simply the wonder of the beauty of ordinary things, and of how architecture can increase an awareness of the beauty of the world around it.

“Beauty” can mean many things to many people, but the architect’s task is to find out what it is for his client and for the essence of the project itself. In some cases the emphasis might be on utility and budget; in others on those current words of “green” and “sustainable”; on another purely on creating and enchanted environment. In all cases, what matters is that it is well done. For me, this principle based on the needs of living itself is more important than any style or aesthetics of design. In the end, architecture should make people happy— it should enoble our lives.

I don’t believe in set solutions, but rather feel that anything and everything is fair game to use to create something that fulfills the needs of a project: the needs of the clients, the needs of use and function, and the needs of the context, whether natural or urban, that must be respected and enhanced. There are key issues to be addressed in budgets, schedules, technical and sustainability requirements, safety, and construction to list a few.  These are crucial, but they must not become the main goal and allow one to lose sight of the overall destination: the creation of a unique environment that fulfills a client’s dreams. An architect must be tenacious enough to hold this vision and see it through to the end, for otherwise the profession just becomes a matter of problem-solving that may as well be done by computers.

The architect’s job is to master the technical aspects in order to manifest the poetic ones, in order to create an architecture of magic.

Charles Van Block   Architects, Inc.  -  2675 W Hwy 89a #1239  -  Sedona AZ 86336  - Tel: 928-607-6446 -  Email

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