get excited about design...
blackLAB architects inc. was founded by three talented architects, licenced by the Ontario Association of Architects, along with an effective and qualified business manager.
We create buildings that are responsive and adaptive. Our buildings breathe and grow in their equally dynamic cultural and physical environments. We believe that architecture and its environment has a symbiotic relationship, each learning from the other.
We are innovative and agile. Each team member brings a unique perspective and skill set to the table. We have valuable and extensive experience to offer while continuing to challenge our industry's conventions. Our company can provide you with outstanding service and an exceptional product, while being incredibly effective and efficient with your time and money.
We connect. Each blackLAB team member is involved in the project from beginning to end, ensuring a continuity to the team communication and design consistency in the execution of the project.
We are inspired. We approach each project from first principals and are continually educating ourselves on new products, technologies, and are up on what is happening in the design community.
We are knowledgeable. We have a thorough understanding of how buildings go together and the construction process thanks to our unique construction experience and well-established connections in the building industry.
We are adept at providing a complete package of services ranging from feasibility studies and master plans, through to the construction administration of the final product. We can also help you to connect with contractors and trades to provide input during the design phases and facilitate the construction.
Each new project we undertake at blackLAB offers us the unique opportunity to work with a new client. As architects who focus their efforts predominately on residential design, there aren't too many repeat clients, which has ultimately afforded us many opportunities to experiment with new ideas, as well as facilitating a fresh and constantly evolving perspective on what might constitute the right design solution, as each client inevitably seeks something different.
If you take the client away, although at the outset you might feel a sense of freedom to do as you wish, you inherently remove the single most effective way to give real purpose and direction to a project. As the primary designer, the architect acts as the vehicle for delivering the clients vision, and although we are given the responsibility of encapsulating the creative component of a project, without a client there is always a risk that the end product might lack character and a sensitivity to the clients specific needs, which of course in residential design is critical in realizing a successful outcome.
Just recently a scenario that served as testament to this faced me for the first time as I endeavoured to undertake the re-programming of my existing home for my family. In doing so, although my wife (Sarah) formed part of the team, we were effectively removing the role of the client in a more traditional sense from the process, and instead acting as both architect and client in tandem ourselves.
At the outset we were faced with a blank canvas to create whatever we deemed fit, and ultimately had the opportunity to have some fun implementing a series of design ideas I had played with in the past, but was never fortunate enough to previously execute. However, it wasn't long before I began to miss the client interaction that surrounds a more typical project. Although I had a clear vision and Sarah's input to hand, it quickly became apparent that having the freedom to do as I pleased (to a degree) wasn't really what I was used to.
Sarah was always capable of providing her perspective on the design, but somehow the comfort of designing for what ultimately amounted to be our own home was definitely proving to be more challenging than I had first thought. Initially, it seemed all too easy to simply commit to the first idea that came about, rather than to test myself further. This was an interesting dynamic, and one that I had to work through.
Perhaps it was the more formal process that we typically experience in presenting our ideas to a client in an open meeting, or simply the fact that a designer needs to be challenged by the unexpected reaction of an outsiders perspective if they are to be most successful. Since experiencing this newly derived format I have definitely developed an appreciation and thirst for receiving constructive criticism from others in order to benefit the greater good of a project.
Further more, I have found that if you are seeking a better and more cohesive outcome to a given situation, it is tough to achieve this in isolation, and critical to encompass the input of others, and their unpredictable perspective on an idea. Whilst I have enjoyed designing for our own personal gain in this instance, and am sure we have addressed our needs accurately, I have missed the familiarity and thrill of working for a client who positions themselves as somewhat of an unknown quantity to re-direct a projects focus, or to create a shift in an idea.
At blackLAB we strive to create incredibly functional, efficient and beautiful architecture, and enjoy the highly interactive process of engaging both with our clients and also as a team within our intimate office environment. This project alone has reiterated the importance of remaining humble as a designer, as well as the necessity of embracing team involvement in order to be constantly tested, which as an office we continue to enjoy whenever possible.