#ArchiTalks 7: krafte

Architalks #7:   “Crafty”

adjective: crafty; comparative adjective: craftier; superlative adjective: craftiest
clever at achieving one's aims by indirect or deceitful methods.
"a crafty crook faked an injury to escape from prison"

    • of, involving, or relating to indirect or deceitful methods.
    • "a shameless and crafty trick to mislead public opinion"
of, involving, or relating to the making of decorative objects and other things by hand.
"a market full of crafty pots and interesting earrings"

Old English cræftig ‘strong, powerful,’ later ‘skillful’ (see craft, -y1).

from “urban dictionary”
Top meaning
“crafty” what people are when they are especially sneaky, fetch, sketchy, or have a cunning wit
“crafty” 2, basically drunkenness
“crafty” 3  referring to the beastie boys song of a woman who gets around
“crafties” 4 derogatory term for people who play World of Warcraft
“crafty” 5 especially skilled at making arts and crafts

the german word kraft and it’s definition or meaning
“by virtue of” or “force”.    on account of or by reason of

and their meaning of force is more like “powerful and strong” not in a threatening manner.  


And after reviewing all of these meanings of “crafty”, I am going with…



In case you haven’t noticed...
Architects really like designing and it isn’t just architecture and buildings that they like to make, they like to design everything.  People will ask, “well you do the exterior of the building but you don’t do the interior, do you?”  Well, yes, because it is hard for us (if you are really doing a good job) to just do the exterior of the building and not think about the interior.  We design from the outside in and the inside out, a symbiotic process of taking influences from the outside and melding it with the utilization of the inside. We like to choose everything down to the paint on the walls.  Some might find it to be controlling but we prefer to think of it as creating a concept, developing a space, “crafting” the design.

This is where the concept comes into play, the story or concept might be quite literal and as narrow as: “we need to get this done on a tight lot with not much money for a family of five” or it can be as figurative as one of my clients put it, “I have this concept of two black boxes”, (yes, I had a client who told me that and he is one of the few clients who did not tell me that he always wanted to be an architect).  But in school and with some projects and certainly with the small projects at home, I have had the opportunity to use a concept or a theme and I try and use that concept in the design, be it a bench in an entry of an addition and remodel to an existing house or a birthday party for a family member.  We like to design around a concept and carry it through to the completion of the design.  

Throughout architectural history, architects and designers all over the world, took a concept for a project and carried it through in a “crafty” or designing way most noticeably in the Arts and Crafts movement of 1880-1920 but still prevalent in later years and would probably be more integral in today’s architecture if it was not for financial constraints and philosophical indifference.  Two contemporaries of this movement,  Frank Lloyd Wright, in the United States and the husband and wife practice of Charles Rennie MacIntosh and Margaret MacDonald in Scotland took a concept for a project and carried it through in a “crafty” or designing way.  These principles are exemplified in the work of Wright’s Taliesin West in Scottsdale, Arizona where the concept of designing in harmony with humanity and its environment, which he called organic architecture reach out to the desert of his winter retreat and continue in the motifs that he developed for each of his numerous projects.

Here in MacIntosh and MacDonald’s Hill House in Glasgow, Scotland where the exterior and the interior are crafty in the details of their concept for the house that the client wanted: gray, with the functions of the interior dictating the exterior and no architectural effect or ornament that wasn’t part of the massing.  They designed all of the details, decoration and furnishings for this house and their other projects.  


This was a period where the architects were crafty and involved in everything from the landscaping elements to the architecture envelope to the dishes and silverware that they were to eat off of on the dining table that was designed specifically for the client and for that project. I am not saying that we should not do any projects that do not involve total design but the concepts for these projects were uniquely developed for each scenario and I think that is what we strive for as architects. We need to be designing in a way that gives concepts and meaning to the architecture in which we aspire to.  We need to get "Crafty".

That is my take on "Crafty", if you would like to read other "Crafty" takes on it, please go to the links below.

Enoch Sears - Business of Architecture
Bob Borson - Life of An Architect
Architects are Crafty
Matthew Stanfield - FiELD9: architecture
On the Craft of Drafting: A Lament
Marica McKeel - Studio MM
Why I Love My Craft: Residential Architecture
Jeff Echols - Architect Of The Internet
Master Your Craft - A Tale of Architecture and Beer
Lee Calisti, AIA - Think Architect
panel craft
Mark R. LePage - Entrepreneur Architect
How to Craft an Effective Blog Post in 90 Minutes or Less
Evan Troxel - Archispeak Podcast / TRXL
Lora Teagarden - L² Design, LLC
Oh, you crafty!
Collier Ward - Thousand Story Studio
Cormac Phalen - Cormac Phalen
Nicholas Renard - dig Architecture
Andrew Hawkins, AIA - Hawkins Architecture, Inc.
Jeremiah Russell, AIA - ROGUE Architecture
Jes Stafford - Modus Operandi Design
* - *
Jes Stafford - Modus Operandi Design
Rosa Sheng - Equity by Design / The Missing 32% Project
Which Craft?
Michele Grace Hottel - Michele Grace Hottel, Architect
Meghana Joshi - IRA Consultants, LLC
Crafty-in Architecture as a Craft
Amy Kalar - ArchiMom
Michael Riscica - Young Architect
A Crafty Architecture Round up – #ArchiTalks
Ghost Lab

Brian Paletz - The Emerging Architect
Underhanded Evil Schemes
Tara Imani - Tara Imani Designs, LLC
Jonathan Brown - Proto-Architecture
Eric Wittman - intern[life]
arts and [crafty]
Cindy Black - Rick & Cindy Black Architects

merging architecture and craftiness

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