I was recently asked to take part in an invited competition, I do quite a lot of them. The site was incredible - it was for a house on Lake Windermere. I didn't win it, but I did realise something which you'd think was obvious: Sites like that don't come around very often. My philosophy has always been that context is always interesting - no matter what. That the smallest, most restricted project can produce anything you want - if you are creative enough. Conditions are seen abstractly and beauty is found everywhere - if you are just open enough to see it. With this site seeing the beauty didn't require any creativity from me. And anyone would be able to see it. Just sitting on the jetty looking out over the lake, hearing the water lapping was a beautiful experience.
And designing the house was a pleasure. It opened a new vein of pure space in me which has sent me down a mine I had unconsciously closed.
The realisation - it's important to work on a site, every now and then, which is truly beautiful - a site where everyone would be in agreement about its beauty. Universal beauty.
The gritty sites I normally deal with do have a beauty, but only through my eyes. My Architecture reflects this - I don't expect anyone else to see it.