on the dominant role of functionalism and an alternative approach to design that neither favors formalism nor eschews function
This is the base competency for an architect - if you want a dining table that seats 10 (and you have made that clear to your architect) then the dining room ought to be able to hold that table. Room-by-room, this is not difficult. The homeowner describes what they want, in functional terms, the architect provides it. Added up it all might not be in the budget, but simply designing a building to accommodate the functions of a house is usually pretty straight forward.
I am often slightly amazed when I visit a house to realize that the original design turned its back to an amazing mountain view or to get to a room you have to go down three steps and then up two. These are also functional issues, though not as straight-forward as the room size problem. I am currently working on a large renovation and addition that will put the living spaces at the best place to capture beautiful valley views, not just the garage like the old house.
Of course houses individually designed have individual quirks. There are homeowners who see no need for a mudroom, or no need for doors to bathrooms for that matter. Some of these functional oddities do show up in houses. It has always been my practice to pursue these often strange ideas of clients while also pointing out to them that a bedroom without doors may be seen as odd by some folks.
For as important as these functional issues are in the design of any building, they are not, and should not be, the sole catalyst for a project. A perfectly functional house does not exist and the quest for such is of diminishing returns and at some point, diminishing spirit. A house should work, but it should do so much more ...
tune in to part two