Architect Audrey Matlock, speaking at a conference on innovation, is quoted, “Today in the U. S. it’s no longer ‘can-do,’…In other countries, they talk about design ideas. Here we have ‘design solutions.'” At Blue Ridge Architects we talk a lot about “design solutions” so I felt a bit defensive when I read this. We believe a focus on design solutions, rather than innovation for innovation’s sake is good thing.
Our firm values call for buildings to be functional and affordable. While there may be clients who have the luxury of creating iconic buildings at the expense functionality and affordability, the majority expect architects to be careful stewards of their resources. It is our attention to function and cost that earns us the right to suggest new forms, materials and approaches to building.
Another of our core values is that buildings should be progressive:
The desire to see and do things in a new way is a by-product of the hope we all need to live and thrive. Even as we find formal and symbolic ways to build links to the past, we anticipate the future with better technology and spaces that welcome our changing patterns of living.
Practical design solutions are not the enemy of innovation or aesthetically pleasing buildings. Rather it is the ability to do both that makes architects a vital part of the building process.
 Architectural Record, December 2011