My First Architecture Project: A House Design

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I am still wondering if my parents really wanted to build a house or they just were too proud to have a son studying architecture.

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My first architectural project was a house for my parents on a plot of land in the Carpathian Mountains.

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I found by chance two pictures of the first house that I designed. It was 20 years ago and I was just an architecture student.


This one is my parent’s house built on a piece of land inherited from my grandpa…

Most of my memories are not related to the design phase, but the construction one. A whole summer vacation: every day started at 7 am with a small lunch break then ending at 7 pm. Besides the first architecture lessons on my own skin, the most important things remain the memories of my beloved grandmother and my mother.

What marked my career starting these days was the way I first understood that every line that an architect draws represents money later: expensive building materials and skilled labor. I’ve designed dozens of houses after that most of the time with the same joy as the skinny, long-haired architecture student at that time.

I am very sorry that I didn’t find more pictures of this house. It was a time with no digital cameras and very few scans have a proper quality. The others that I have are too personal to display on this architecture blog: my family over time. One of the last pictures with my mother is from this house.

What I realize now is that houses are not about architecture, but about families, about people that live in. That is what is happening right now with all other houses that I designed and with the houses that all architects designed. We loose sometimes this, we try too much to draw nice lines, to get good proportions, to be architects. We forget that everything is for people and not for the architects.

I’ve published this text in Romanian first: “Primul meu proiect de casa”. It is very different there: the memories were too strong and even tears appeared. but I’ve made myself a promise: to take more pictures with the house this weekend and to take my daughter in the fall over there to harvest apples with her grandfather. So there will be an update and I will tell you how this house gave me an architectural philosophy.

By Octavian Ungureanu

Mă numesc Octavian Ungureanu și sunt arhitect.
Nu proiectez doar blocuri, clădiri de birouri, hoteluri și pensiuni sau clădiri industriale.
Fac și proiecte de case, iar asta îmi place la nebunie.