We tend to proceed in life idealising the things we hold most dear, rendering them in a state of impossible perfection. With time, we begin to realise how this idealised version is misinformed and then begins the process of reconciling ideals with reality.
Similarly, prior to construction a new building is a perfect, idealised, projection of the architects intentions and values. With time as construction takes place problems inevitably arise and compromises are made, what existed perfectly in the realm of paper becomes a complex and enduring struggle. Strangely, within the profession it is imperative to operate within the two realms, between the idealised and the real - this a healthy indication of an architect’s ability, their ability to idealise and then later realise his projection as promised.
Still, there is a tough dialectic between the real and projected which demands a disciplined balance and awareness of the two, which can be compared to working in a state of contradiction. Personally, I have come to notice that idealism plays a bigger role in younger careers and as one matures, reality and experience takes prominence. The same can be said about the lived experience.
Thankfully, there is no prescribed method of reconciling the idealised and the real, this is something each architect must find on his own.
Lebbeus Woods, San Francisco Project: Inhabiting the Quake, Quake City, 1995;