I’ve been helping with some final coordination items and design details for Magic Johnson Park Phase 1 A – a project I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working on. It was one of the first projects I began working on here at AHBE, and being able to follow through across the project’s many stages has taught me so much. Following the process from early concept to construction documents has been a roller coaster full of ups and downs. The project has seen many iterations; I cannot wait to see the built reality.
We’ve sketched, re-sketched, created illustrative plans, renders, study models, technical details, and drawings. Now they’ve all been boiled down into one set. As I look back at the work we’ve done, I recognize something about my own design process: how sometimes the simplest sketch can both define and reveal possibilities within a project and site.
As a designer very interested in graphic representation, I am guilty of being seduced by a beautiful image. A montage with picturesque aesthetic technique can determine the value placed on a site design in ways that have little to do with the potential built reality. We all know this, but the attraction is still there. Much of it has to do with what works as a composition on a 2-dimensional plane. It’s something to master, and can help create an atmosphere, communicate a mood, and describe a sense of place. This is what gets people excited about the possibilities of a project. These images carry a lot of responsibility in selling a design intent, and it is easy to overvalue final beautiful presentation graphics.
There are different layers of concentration critical in the design process. With time, I hope to become more comfortable with the act of sketching – I’m talking quick and dirty, first impression, easy and loose sketching. Sketching this way is purely about discovery and experimentation, but the process is not easy. Looking back at the design process I created for Magic Johnson Park, I realize it was the quick and dirty sketches that allowed me to communicate my design ideas most successfully. Sometimes it is the first loose sketch that gets you somewhere…only to end up in the trash moments later.