Architecture of Place

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The North Carolina Research Campus

Creech & Associates welcomes you all to the New Year and hopes that 2020 will be a symbolic year with perfect vision as we move forward with great opportunities. While we will continue as always to produce inspiring architecture of place, some have asked exactly what that entails so I would like to begin this blog with an analogy that may add light to its meaning. During the holidays we are often forced to spend time with relatives or acquaintances who are very different from who we are whether it be their views on politics or just general philosophy about life. Sometimes those differences are welcomed and enlightening, but quite often they are bothersome and disrupt the cohesiveness of a family gathering. In some ways buildings that comprise of the places we love are like a family and exist in a harmonious fashion, supporting each other in mass, scale, and vernacular. They work together contextually to create varying interests in their facades, sometimes pausing to allow for a square or park to occur. These resulting spaces between the buildings allow us as humans to connect with our natural environment and to actually notice the time of day and even the current season. The misfits, whether at the table or in the built environment, are inconvenient and create a tension that affects our wellbeing.

This harmony of the built environment is what embodies architecture of place and is not limited to any city, town, or countryside. These are all valid environments that people desire and need. Preserving the essence of a small town is just as valid as understanding great cities such as New York, Rome, or Paris. It is very important to understand the significance of a building relative to its place – there is a hierarchy that must be respected. Mixed-use buildings typically are designed to blend more closely with other buildings of similar uses. Buildings of more importance, such as civic buildings or places of worship, are given sites that allow them more respect just as a family patriarch or matriarch may be seated at the head of the table. You may find these buildings at the terminus of a grand boulevard, commanding a square, or set back from other buildings on a green. Their facades often have a higher level of detail, and in conjunction with a unique siting, quietly express their influence to a place. Special “high” buildings do not always have to be quiet and sometimes make a little noise. Often designers want museums to draw attention to themselves almost as objects of sculpture. This is a delicate balance that requires a thoughtful hand so not to disrupt the harmony, similar to how an obnoxious uncle in loud, plaid pants might do at a family gathering.

Creech & Associates strives to preserve or enhance any environment in which we work. We study each place to understand what has made it special, or where it is lacking, and we will ensure each building will contribute to and enhance that place. We look forward to working with you in 2020 by creating and preserving your special Architecture of Place.

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