Greenleaf has been building this home designed by Architect Robert Oshatz. Since this is such a unique home and difficult build we have established a wonderful working relationship. We would like to share some of Robert Oshatz's principles when designing a home or space:
"An architect is an artist, creator, logician of evolving aesthetic structures; a designer of not only the visual but the internal space. I see architecture as a synthesis of logic and emotion, exploring and fulfilling the dreams, fantasies and realities of my clients, whether they are individuals, corporate, or community identities.
Except for the basic elements of design composition, dominance, transition, and identity; I stay away from design theories. They seem to be too transitory and irrelevant to my work. Design theories tend to outshine their author's performance, becoming limiting concepts, prejudicing the mind while tying one's hands behind one's back. They are roadblocks to new ideas. While subscribing to a particular theory of design an architect must solve problems within the parameters of that theory; this is limiting at best.
Without architectural theories the process of designing a structure remains in its purest form, simply solving a given problem. Design becomes a process of integrating its key ingredients… program and environment. The program (problem to be solved) is what makes a project unique, and the seed of a solution is found within the problem itself. An opportunity exists within every design to develop a unique solution. The environment is the source of a projects poetic sense. Every site has its own character; the challenge to the architect is to capture that character and translate its spirit into architectural poetry.
The starting point of my work is the clients program, so my first step is to divide the program into its functional and spiritual components. The program is more than just a set of functional requirements, technical space allocations and relationships. It should embody the emotional needs of the client/user.
The requirements of architecture are such that I must go beyond what the client understands. There must be surprise, mystery, beauty and delight, elements that make architecture rewarding to its users for a lifetime. This is one of the primary differences between architecture and building. It is the architect's responsibility to go beyond the mere program and into the realm of what I call the spiritual.
The graphic tools used to express the design program are plan, section and elevation. To me the plan is everything. It is the expression of the client's functional program, a beautiful translation of an idea. I find the plan to be a simple picture of a program organized into a rhythm of usages. In almost every project I undertake, I am asked to come up with a visual sketch idea of what a building will look like. I'm always at a loss and find it impossible to do. I've got to start with a floor plan. No matter how intriguing or complex my work appears to be, I start with a plan every time. The section is the expression of the client's spiritual program. It brings the plan to life. It is the realization of space. The section is a complex ordering of three-dimensional space, a play of light and shadow, solid and voids. It is in the plan and section that one sees the relationship of program, environment, structure, materials, and economics. The elevation is unimportant to me… it is only a skin enclosing the internal space created by the plan and section.
Just as there is no one answer to life's problems, due to its complex and changing nature, there is no single solution to an architectural design challenge. With a myriad of past experiences within me, I try to clear my mind of previous solutions and preconceived notions and approach design intuitively. The design process is then an intuitive one with ideas swimming through a sea full of the past, present and future, exploring and ordering complexities with an emotional reason into a logical end. Intuition is what brings a fresh new response to each architectural challenge. I strive to do the best I am capable at a given point in time, knowing that the same program would be resolved differently at another time.
Architecture is a synthesis of logic and emotion. When carried to its logical conclusion, a traditional design approach produces very imaginative structures. It is only a question of how much of an artist we architects choose to be."