Sometimes you get an opportunity to do something important. As an Architect, creating a home place is that rare chance to establish a family legacy for a client; a legacy that can potentially be filled with the childhood memories of grandparents and great-grandparents as they reflect on their lives. Many times it is the natural process of the world that has a great influence on the development of such a place. Many times it is the world, family dispositions and some combination of planning, design and good fortune, which combine to formulate an unforgettable place. There is a “genus loci” – spirit of a place – there, which makes it special. This genus loci is a goodness that cannot be taken away or disavowed. It is a breathing thing that can reach deeply into the heart forever. It’s the aroma of your great aunt’s rose garden, a particular arrangement of live oaks or similar sensory trigger that takes you instantly back to a special time or memory. That’s the Raison d’être for many Architects and the hope of every new project.
There are also times when great opportunities can be risky such as when taking on a project for family! The risks include disappointment, disagreement or conflict and even emotional separation. The custom residence on Hamilton Road in Auburn, Alabama is a project for my niece and her family and I thought long and hard about whether to take it on. Fortunately, and not unexpectedly, the project was a huge success and it is my sincere hope that time and circumstance may lend its good fortune into the desire to establish a great spirit in this place.