The Fountainheadache: The Politics of Architect-Client Relations

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Wiley, Mar 20, 1995 - Architecture - 234 pages
"I don't intend to build in order to have clients. I intend to have clients in order to build."—Howard Roark, hero of Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead

Howard Roark's attitude toward clients was guaranteed to cause him endless headaches. Most architects understand that they must balance their creative ambitions with the client's need for a building that solves real-life problems, can be built for a reasonable cost, and doesn't leak. Learning to strike that balance, however, can be a painful trial-and-error process that produces its own special brand of headache.

The Fountainheadache investigates the complex, sometimes rocky relationship of architect and client through the personal recollections of some of America's best-known and most successful architects. Roger K. Lewis, Charles Gwathmey, Stanley Tigerman, and many others discuss their methods for establishing working relationships with clients, describe the impact of these relationships on the design process, and offer insights and advice on a broad array of issues covering a range of projects from single-family dwellings to large commercial buildings and public facilities.

Andy Pressman's often hilarious stories of his own fledgling practice illustrate the kinds of client-related problems that can take a young architect completely by surprise: A married couple can't agree on how to remodel their house, a client wants to have his house redesigned without meeting the architect, a couple allows a contingent of neighbors to grill the architect about his design. But from each jarring experience, Pressman draws a valuable lesson. He develops a set of guidelines that help bridge the gap that often separates architect from client, replacing frustration with satisfaction, conflict with collaboration, and disappointment with delight.

The Fountainheadache offers a candid and completely human perspective on the frustrations and joys of the architect-client relationship. It also provides plenty of practical advice that will help architects and prospective clients turn this potential headache into one of the most rewarding aspects of any building venture.

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About the author (1995)

ANDY PRESSMAN, AIA, is the head of his own award-winning architectural firm based in Yarmouth, Maine. His work has been featured in over twenty professional and popular publications, including: Architecture, Popular Science, and The Washington Post. He is the author of Architecture 101: A Guide to the Design Studio, also available from Wiley, and he holds a master's degree from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design.

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