Welcome to our architectural review newsletter. This up-close look behind the scenes and the mind of Harry Gandy Howle reflects how each finished home is a project of energy and enthusiasm that represents an intense level of attention to details.
Each issue of HGH REVIEW features a different residential or commercial project designed by Harry Gandy Howle & Associates. This time, we opted to offer a different perspective by asking Harry a few common questions about the architectural profession.
It’s a good question, despite that it’s a general one for such a diverse field. Like other fields of design, all architects are not created equal. They naturally have different talents. Some, like me, respect and adhere to the purest precepts of a particular vernacular.
Generally, those who can draw by hand and sketch – and who work well with the clients – become the true designers. While design can be learned, a natural talent certainly goes a long way. There’s really no such thing as a ‘standard’ job description of an architect, but on a daily basis I meet with clients and determine their lifestyle needs, draft plans, estimate project costs, file permit applications with municipal building departments, conduct feasibility studies, and help facilitate agreements between our clients and the general contractor. I also visit construction sites to review the progress of projects and ensure contractors are building according to our architectural plans.
Of course! One of the biggest misconceptions is that architects always design new buildings and homes. Home and office renovations are also a large part of what my firm designs. Form and function are critical to the design and our clients’ lifestyle. What may be an aesthetically beautiful structure may not be functional or meet the needs of those who will live or work in it, so the challenge becomes to marry the two.
The reality is that only a fraction of architects actually perform real design. Most work as project managers and process the designs of the main designer. Architectural school will prepare a candidate for the profession, but it will not necessarily prepare a candidate for the real world. Client dynamics and working with other professionals in the total creation of the building process are a vital part of my role – and those skills are partially based on personality traits, but honed from years of experience.
Besides putting my heart and soul into each design opportunity, my natural aptitude and sheer love of architecture has helped me attract teams of distinctive designers for more than 40 years.
Growing up in the south and having a mother that introduced me to the beauty of art and design, enabled me to refine my love of architecture at a young age. My early fascination with southern, classical architecture set the stage for my success, and I continue to study and learn from it. It never gets old.
When I’m not designing, I’m spending time with my wife, Claire, and our four grown children, Harry, William, Glenn and Cissy or at our Blowing Rock home in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.
To see all that Harry does, take a peek at his Pure Harry design collections.