Creativity and Restraints


Creativity is the engine of the architectural profession; without it, we are losing our dialogue with inspiration.

However, there is a misconception that people have about creativity and architecture. Common knowledge is that we have to be creative to come up with cool, good, new, or crazy-looking buildings. And, yes, it might be a small part of it. But most creativity is actually invested in making a design work within the parameters set forth from outside the architect’s mind. It starts with budget issues, zoning requirements, technical limitations, timing, neighbors, and continues on and on.

One of the most interesting trends in architecture is the creative use of the restraints in architectural design, where a limit becomes the determining factor of the design. We recently participated in a competition for a redesign of a facade of an office tower in Piraeus, Greece. As per the competition brief, we had to add an extra stair to the building to comply with new building codes. When working on the project, we realized that we could actually add an exterior stair that, when engaging with our facade design, becomes a path through an artificial forest, further intensifying the design intent of our interactive, wind energy-harvesting facade. Luckily, the jury also liked the idea and we won first prize.

About The Author

Matthias Hollwich is principal of HOLLWICHKUSHNER, LLC, a New York City based architecture and concept design firm. He is also co-founder of ARCHITIZER, a social networking platform connecting architects via their designs. Matthias is driven by the aim to upgrade man-made environments on a human and engaging scale with an ECONIC twist and can be best reached at (

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