Michael Lewarne

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Architects often focus on defining their value at the expense of defining their expertise. Here’s why they should preference expertise over value.

Your expertise is a window into what you do.
Photo by Francesco Ungaro on Pexels [cropped and edited]

Motivation is challenged by lack of clarity. You can only do the work when you can see it.
Photo by Aleksandar Pasaric on Pexels

I’ve spent some time over the last few months reaching out to architects to talk to them about their experiences in practice. One thread that regularly comes up for small offices, on the challenges they face, is staff. It’s usually in some form about managing staff and the implications of…

While it’s not the only answer, there is a simple solution to reducing the overwhelm of architecture practice…

Overwhelm can feel like being lost in a forest. Facing too many trees and not being able to see enough light.
Photo by Francesco Ungaro on Pexels [edited]

There’s many moving parts to architectural practice, regardless of size. There’s the innumerable relationships to be managed, a constancy of decisions to be made, and just so many balls to keep in the air. It’s not unusual to begin to be overwhelmed when too much is going on.

The simple…

Low fees are not the problem for architects, they’re the symptom. So what might the problem be?

Drip by drip, the ripples spread out until the original drip is no longer acknowledged. The ripple is just a symptom of a problem drip.
Photo by Matheus Natan on Pexels [edited]

Architects will often declaim that they’re not paid enough for their services. With solutions ranging from stopping the race to the bottom, to reintroducing appropriate fee scales, even lobbying government to be a model client and recompensing architects adequately for their services. …

Commitment can be hard. Being non-committal is the reason so many people fail. How might you do more than just think about it?

When you stand at the edge of a skate bowl you have to fully commit, or it’s likely you’ll come off.
Photo by Enric Cruz López on Pexels [cropped and edited]

A non-earth shattering confession.

In my five decades I’ve never roller skated.

My young daughter started skating this year. It’s been a good lockdown exercise. For months I’ve been contemplating joining her. Of course overcoming the inertia is hard, there’s fear too. A fear of looking ridiculous, of failure, of…

If goals weren’t such a pain, maybe we’d achieve more.

Once you’ve set a goal you are on the hook to practice in order to reach that goal.
Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels [edited]

Recently, to get out of my head in lockdown, I picked my bass guitar up to play. It had been over 7 years since I’d practiced in any reasonable way. Up until then, I had spent about 3 to 4…

Working remotely is not the same process as working in an office. Nor should it be. So how might architects do remote work differently?

Sometimes remote work can give you a sense of FOMO, like there’s another world you’re entirely removed from.
Photo by Maria Orlova on Pexels [edited]

When confronted with change the tendency is to try and rebalance and find a way to revert to the status quo. When everyone was forced to move home to do their work, the reflex was to find a new way to continue working the way people always had. With people…

Architects are more than designers and it’s essential for architects to embrace this. Here’s why…

Image by Alexey Derevtsov on Pexels [cropped]

I’ve previously written about why architecture is more than design. My original article here, Architects, Not Just a Matter of Good Design and has been one of my most popular. I later added a couple of paragraphs and tidied it for The Architecture Bulletin. It focuses on the importance of…

Standing for something builds respect, identity and confidence. It’s also the most effective way to create lasting change in the world.

Lacaton and Vassal stand for adaptive reuse.
mage by Jean-Pierre Dalbéra on Wikimedia Commons [edited & cropped]

We all know social media is a bin fire of opinions and reactionary posting. I’m nevertheless curious about what percentage of posts stand in favour of something rather than against something. One is constructive whilst the other is destructive. I start here not in an interest in social media but…

In order to make change happen sometimes, instead of driving it, we simply need to be vulnerable, modelling it for others to follow. This is the action of a leader.

Image by Iain on Pexels [edited & cropped]

Today I was witness to an act of generous leadership by architect Stephen Collier, speaking about his struggle with mental health issues. He stood in front of a “virtual” room of architects and publicly shared these challenges for the first time. It was moving, powerful and incredibly insightful. …

Michael Lewarne

| Not inclined to stay inside the | lines.

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