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Getting to Simple
Eliminate the superfluous and nonessential
Posted on August 1, 2023 @ 5:42PM

"Like all great performances, a great work of art makes complexity look simple. It is executed with style, skill, and grace. Any genuine work of art is created through tremendous discipline, not put together out of a grab bag of random references and trendy trim. Great art eliminates everything superfluous and nonessential to deliver a strong, clear message in the language of its time. It intensifies all of our responses. It is not an uncomplicated message, however, and its many levels of meaning add both subtlety and power."
~ Ada Louise Huxtable

Most of the time, design is not a simple matter of inspiration. It is an iterative process, in which a generalized concept gradually becomes more refined. It moves from a conceptual reality to a finely resolved one by means of ongoing revision. I know I am moving in the right direction when it begins to feel increasingly simple, when it begins to acquire a sense of having been inevitable. For me, this is achieved by trusting my work to a methodology in which everything is built off of a very concise 'seed crystal' of a goal, defined with and by my client.

Good design is like a really sweet golf swing - or any well executed athletic movement, really - it tends to look so simple. A good golfer makes the game look effortless. But underlying that phenomenal combination of efficiency, power, control, and grace lies tremendous complexity. Good design gets to simple like a good golf swing... with discipline, commitment, work, and passion. And like a good golf swing, it becomes its own viscerally gratifying reward.

Author: Sam Rodell

Sam has practiced as an award winning architect for forty years, and has also built many of his clients' projects.  He is licensed throughout most of the western USA and Canada, and is certified by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) which expedites registration in other states and provinces. He was the first Certified Passive House Consultant architect in eastern Washington and northern Idaho.