August 22nd, 2022 / 2 min read
With several of our projects taking place in Jeddah, Nina (Concept Me’s founder) would be driving around the city and constantly pass by this massive house that always looked...unfinished. For four years, the grand structure of the house and its architecture just did not seem to be changing. As an architect, she found that curious - but she drove on.
That was until she got contacted by the owners of that house. The story went as such: they had been trying to build this house for the past four years but the architects and designers they had hired previously just did not have the capacity to pull the project through. Nina was familiar with the kind of attitude that some architects had when it came to residential projects. It was not that they were not good at their job; it was more of the fact that when it comes to building residences, the architect/designer has to really champion the process through because some clients tend to become passive across the long process of constructing their dream homes.
Nina took on the project.
And in typical Parvaresh behavior, she dictated that everyone that had previously worked on the stagnant structure be fired. The first part of the process was to rectify and expand upon the existing structure. They tore down a lot of the structure to accommodate the new design and added a completely new wing that expanded the scope and the style of the mansion. The process was hectic due to the many mistakes done before across the confused process. From Day 1, the consultants and contractors that had worked on the project were not Nina’s biggest fans, because let’s face it, no one likes to be told that they had done things wrong. But they had...
Regardless, the design process was done and the process of hiring new contractors was due to begin. The clients decided that they wanted to bring back their old contractors. Some habits die hard apparently. So, Nina, being the main driver of the project, knew that if those old contractors were to join, the process would go downhill. She did not want to associate with that kind of downfall. So, she decided to step back if the contractors came on board. And so, they did. And lo and behold, the project began to falter yet again...surprises really...
8 months of messy construction and trying to translate Concept Me’s designs to contractors that were not capable of work of that scope came and went. Nina did not participate in the site supervision because she knew the caliber of the work would be jeopardized with these guys. The client, after spending insane amounts of money on faulty construction work, realized that the Parvaresh attitude was in the right. And so, Nina agreed to come back on to the project with her choice of contractors and pulled the project through.
Money was wasted. Time was spent fruitlessly. Drama escalated. 30-minute desperate phone calls were had. A home was constructed, demolished and reconstructed. Eventually, the project was completed earlier last year.
In retrospect, when thinking about the different scenarios Nina and the team have been through for the past 14 years, there are several lessons to learn. From this particular scenario, it was always clear and proven to us that as architects, residential projects must be our responsibility. When it comes to building homes, it is up to the architects and designers to drive the process, to motivate the client to continue with it, to justify the progress, to supervise the construction and to propose solutions that make the process smooth and continuous. When it comes to commercial projects like headquarters or hotels, the progress is being pushed from both sides (the client and us), but in the world of building homes, us architects must be the main engine !
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