Architecture… Is it Asking Questions?

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“You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.” — Naguib Mahfouz

If I was to ask: Who is your favourite architect? Would you know the answer?
It may make you think, but I’m sure you’ll have an answer.
Frank Lloyd Wright? Yes?
How about Toyo Ito?
Andrea Palladio?

The problem with focussing in on answers, is that often there is no right answer.

If I was to ask: What is important when designing a home?
There are many many answers. All of them right. All of them wrong,
but that’s not the point
The point is, that this is a very good question to ask.

If I was to ask: Is design important and why?
For many architects, the answer may be self-evident. I’m not sure that all of them would be able to answer in a way that was meaningful and one that makes a connection with the majority.

Far too often Architects may think that they have the right answers. They further compound this misapprehension when proceeding to explain or expand upon their answer to those that apparently don’t understand or may disagree.
Two problems with this,
It’s patronising;
Importantly, when people think they have the right answer they stop listening. They stop seeking other answers or viewpoints.
Sometimes they need to listen more.
Sometime they need to ask more.

Asking questions is a generous act.
It leads people to a more meaningful answer.
It helps people bring their own answer to light.

It makes me curious,
How might architects ask more questions?
How might architects ask better questions?

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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