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…
When the apple boinked off Newton’s head, this was inertia (and the effect of gravity on the apple). In physics, inertia is the resistance of an object to change its velocity. In life, inertia is the tendency to do nothing or resist change.
You can probably see where I’m going with this.
I’m curious what architects are doing to challenge the inertia of architectural practice.
The tendency in the profession is often to do nothing and resist change. When faced with change, the desire is sometimes to change it back and to keep things the same.
Sometimes the problem is…
The practice of architecture is predicated on a level of critical thinking in order to advance the quality of the work. Questioning if a building achieves the standards we hold to be of importance, such as environmental standards, aesthetic, commodity firmness delight, standards of economy, and so on? There is no correct standard and they’re ever changing. All are fair game in critical consideration. Yet the profession is less often concerned with appraising itself more critically.
Critical thinking requires either moving from assumptions known to be indisputably true (that’s deductive reasoning), or alternately starting at truth and moving towards identifying…
How trusted is the architectural profession when it comes to their work and how might they become more trusted?
This post will be full of gross generalisations. Inevitably, however, the profession is most often perceived through a generalised prism. We should also acknowledge, whilst a profession may be viewed through this prism, we each have agency to individually challenge and change perception.
I write here with more questions than answers, and these questions were provoked by a tweet by Jennifer Crawford highlighting the extent some people may go to avoid architectural services.
People are not swayed because you are right. They’re going to be swayed because they are right.
Architects often talk about their value. That’s self talk about the value they deliver in their work and how they need to be better at communicating this to their public (the public they seek to serve). I question this approach and I’m curious as to whether talking about value is a form of hiding. Hiding from the hard work of leadership and the enrolment that’s required to bring their public along on the same journey that they’re on. It’s easier to hide behind…
What are other ways to think about the architecture profession that might help it to bring new perspective to architectural practice and propel it forward?
Architects have long wanted to compare themselves with other professionals. They suggest, for example, no-one goes to a butcher for surgery but instead to a qualified doctor, or that lawyers charge by the hour so architects should too. That’s all well and good, but an analogy needs to be a good fit and lead to insight and I’ve never found those professional analogies overly helpful in furthering the consideration of practice or the profession.
The architecture profession is predisposed to prescribe boundaries around the work they do. Constructing narratives about what type of work is done by an architect — it’s by and large we design and assist in the delivery of buildings. It’s a scope of work that has remained relatively unchanged over countless decades, albeit increasingly diminished. These narratives act to further instate boundaries preventing alternatives and possibility in the work they do.
Here’s why it might be time to start changing the boundaries and narratives and why they matter.
Kodak developed the first handheld digital camera in 1975. They failed to…
I visited La Sagrada Familia over 30 years ago. I have a distinct memory of standing in the empty roofless volume that would become the church, my mind blown by how long they had been building and how much more they had to go. I recall thinking I will never see this finished. Of course I hadn’t foreseen the changes in technology and a motivation to speed construction, that may now prove me wrong. Yet the patience of Antoni Gaudí, of his clients and the builders just boggled my mind.
The practice of Architecture, especially Landscape Architecture, is a slow…
How might we set constraints to make practice better and easier for ourselves? Constraints that assist in decision making and all the work we do.
One of the most widely published type designers, Matthew Carter, is keen on saying that designing type involves a billion possibilities. He asserts that he halves the possibilities by deciding between serif and sans serif and halves them again by deciding the font weight, and so on. After a few more constraining decisions, defining style, letter shapes (oval or square), and so on, the design possibilities have reduced to the thousands or at least tens…
| Not inclined to stay inside the | lines.