As the regular reader of my blog may have observed, I’m keen on questions.
I’m also as scared of a hard question as anyone too, whilst mindful of an old proverb,
“Better to ask a question than to remain ignorant.”
What’s worse ignorance or a scary answer? For those that want to get better at their work, make change happen or uncover new and helpful insights, ignorance is not an option.
“Courage doesn’t happen when you have all the answers. It happens when you are ready to face the questions you have been avoiding your whole life.” Shannon L. Alder
Whether just starting out on your practice journey or well into it, it is always worthwhile to take time to stop and evaluate how it’s going. What’s working? What’s not working? What could be better? What’s the general feeling?
It’s too rare for architects to do this. They might be too busy to make the time. Some might not think to ask questions of their practice. For others the sense that all is going well (or well enough) might mean they don’t feel it’s necessary. And more often than not there’s potential for the answers to be a little too…
“We need a seat at the table!”
It’s oft heard amongst architects.
My first thought in response is usually to question. Where is this “table”? Who’s also at the table? What’s the conversation they’re having? Do architects really want a seat there? Any reasonable answers to these questions might give clues as to why architects are missing, how they might go about finding said seat, or indeed whether it’s a table worth sitting around. It’s also not really the question they’re asking.
I typically translate this question to,
“Why don’t architects have more power?” …
I’m not sure architects are entirely right. For the purposes of the exercise, I’m going to assume they are and explore where they might start to set things to rights.
Starting with a quote ,
“Marketing is our quest to make change on behalf of those we serve, and we do it by understanding the irrational forces that drive each of us.”
The thing I like about this quote is there’s two parts. The first part is about making change. The second part is about (cognitive) empathy.
Starting with the change architects seek to make on behalf of…
First principles thinking was brought to greater public consciousness by Elon Musk. It’s been around since the Ancient Greeks. Such thinking helps in breaking down complicated problems or systems to their fundamental parts or foundational truths. This is done with the objective to generate new ideas or outcomes from these fundamental parts.
Awards are a story.
When setting up the criteria for judging awards it’s important to consider what the story is you want to be telling. When choosing and briefing the judges it’s equally important to understand their world views and the stories they’re likely to tell or retell through their selections. Consider for example the story Hollywood has been telling the industry and the world at large when (formerly) selecting largely white, more often male, nominees and therefore winners. #OscarsSoWhite: Hollywood is not a diverse, equitable or inclusive industry.
Let’s consider architecture awards. I was gratified to read that Lacaton…
When architects talk about unbuilt work, they mean building designs.
What if they were to reframe that thinking?
What if an architect’s legacy was more than their buildings? An unbuilt legacy if you like.
I’m curious about such a question, because I think it has the power to change the way architects think about practice and their work. If an architect’s sole focus wasn’t just on a legacy of the buildings they design, would they change the way they practised? Here’s what they might change and indeed what some architects are already doing…
Developing better architecture business and culture through…
When the the architecture profession is doing well, more architecture businesses will do well. Architects doing better together.
With that in mind, how might the architecture profession take responsibility for the Business Development (BD) of the entire profession, rather than BD as individual businesses?
[Introductory note: I consider this the start of a conversation, rather than a definitive dissertation and I’m curious about what other architects might think and have to contribute.]
Starting with the end in mind. What does the profession doing well look like?
This is an unfiltered and unedited list. …
If I was to start a new architectural practice, I’d take it back to first principals. That requires asking some hard questions in a process of reasoning. Here’s what I’d consider, imagine you’re being asked these questions by someone that doesn’t know a thing about architecture or architectural practice.
Why are you setting up the practice in this way? Why do you think this?
Taking into consideration how you describe yourself and your service, the processes you’ll put in place, your target market, your marketing, and so on. …
An architect is not made in 6 days. An architect is not even made in 6 years of study. Architects evolve over decades of hard work and experience. They’re not born flying, but over time they may learn to soar.
“He who would learn to fly one day must first learn to stand and walk and run and climb and dance; one cannot fly into flying.”
Upon graduation an architect’s office responsibilities are pretty limited. They’re just beginning to walk and it’s likely that most of their time will be spent drawing. They might be required to look…
| Not inclined to stay inside the | lines.