Architects Tell Stories to Themselves

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“Men build too many walls and not enough bridges.” — Isaac Newton

A long long time ago.
In an age of darkness.
Stories were all we had.

Everyone loves a good story.
We’ll even give you a Nobel Prize if you tell us a good story.
Above all our fondest memories are held in stories, stories we tell, stories we’re told.

Snuggled warm in bed, rain beating on a darkened roof. The comforting or scary voice of your mother, your father. Transporting you beyond the storm outside. Nothing existed beyond the warm pool of the bedside lamp and the pictures in your head.
Do you remember that connection you had?
It was familial and it was the joy of shared experience, shared understanding.
A fabled connection.

Architects are great at telling stories. Stories of the future. Translations of lines and shades into narratives of delight. A story of soft light fall on brickwork, washing the foyer. A story of atmosphere cradled within newly wrought space. A story of the embryonic, the yet to be revealed, of the newly desired.
These stories made connections. Connections to a conception, a vision of a building to be. Emotional connections. Connections to a future.

Architects are great at telling stories to themselves.
Stories about the importance of their work. Stories about the value they bring. Stories about the imperatives of good architecture. Stories of their self-importance.
Their world view is shaped by their own fables.

So what happens when architects are confronted by a world where their view is challenged? Their value not appreciated? Their story, their opinion not heard, not repeated, not engaged? Where there’s no connection?
It starts an argument. An argument to convince. To be right.
But you can’t argue and tell a story at the same time. No connection.
It suggests that the internal narrative is wrong.

It makes me curious.
How might architects become even better storytellers?

Want to know more about me? I’m Michael & I’m a co-founder & architect at Redshift Architecture & Art, and founder & coach at Ed Shift.

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| Not inclined to stay inside the | lines.

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