JAMES WALTER SCHILDROTH,
ORGANIC ARCHITECT of MAINE
Architecture inspired by my clients and the challenging sites on the coast of Maine since 1970.
The process of working with a creative architect in the design of your home may be one of the most rewarding experiences you will have in life.
"In an organic architecture the ground itself predetermines all features; the climate modifies them; available means limit them; function shapes them.
"Organic Architecture develops from within outward - in harmony with the conditions of its being - as distinguished from one that is applied."
Frank Lloyd Wright, Architect
The word ORGANIC denotes in architecture not merely what may hang in a butcher shop, get about on two feet or be cultivated in a field. The word organic refers to entity, perhaps integral or intrinsic would therefore be a better word to use. As originally used in architecture, organic means part-to-whole-as-whole-is-to-part. So entity as integral is what is really meant by the word organic. INTRINSIC. FLLW
Comments by James Schildroth, Architect
Organic Architecture is not a style. The design develops from the needs and conditions of the client and the site. It is based on understanding the needs of the human beings that will use the architecture. So it is first architecture for humans. So the first step in Organic design is to understand the client and the site. The architect must use his understanding of what it is to be human.
The other way to design is to start with a style and force the needs into it so it has the look of something that has been done before. Or make some whimsical sketch and then try and force the needs into it.
The organic way is to work from within outward - in harmony with the conditions of its being. Understand the conditions and let this understanding direct the development of the design. Why is this so hard for most designers? Why don't clients demand that their building be designed in this organic way and not be copies of a style. They just don't know it is possible. Most architects don't know how to design from the needs and the function out and let the form come as the result.
Most people do not know how to use the creative side of their brains. They rely on finding a ready made design and remodeling it to fit their needs and force the design on the site. The cost of Organic Architecture is very much the same as these imitations of the past and much less than some of the whimsical design done today. The copy rarely fits the needs of the client and the conditions of the site. So the client settles for a design that is applied to their needs and conditions one that forces their life needs into arbitrary form.
In nature every form and color has a function and a purpose, the design is based on the needs of the natural thing, the flower or the animal. The design of each has developed and evolved over time so that every part of the natural thing is there for a purpose. We call this beauty, so why not the same process in the design of a work of architecture? Nature is the example that is there for all to see. What has happened in architecture is that we are not organic and the design we copy does not evolve in harmony with the conditions of its being. We try and cling to the past and to do this is death. If we know anything about life it is that we must change and evolve with changing conditions or we do not succeed, so it is with architecture.
As a client demand that your architect start with your needs and the site you have selected or find one that will.
As a student of architecture you should demand that your teachers show you how to design the Organic way, natures way, the human way, the creative way. Learn to use both sides of the brain that you have.
JWS June 8, 2003