Architecture… where are the Edges?

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“I want to stay as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can’t see from the centre.” — Kurt Vonnegut

Architects are like hammers. When you’re a hammer, everything you see is a nail.
In the work that Architects do, every solution is seemingly a building.
Why should this be the case? Architects are talented professionals with a broad range of skills at their disposal. It just so happen that they also have an enormous amount of specialist knowledge in and around the construction of buildings.

Why then do architects presume that their work must be a building? That the realisation of a building is all they can do?
It’s the story they tell themselves.
Their story is that they realise buildings, it is what they do and all that they do. This is the boundary imposed around their work. A boundary that is all in their head. What they realise, inside the boundary. What they can’t realise, outside.

One of the problems with boundaries is that they often don’t easily adapt to change. What if change were to occur? Change typically comes with a desire to defend the hard won territory. It can be a torturous battle, one that can be costly, distracting from more important tasks, and may ultimately prove to be futile. We only need look as far as media companies as an example to open our eyes to the failure to adjust boundaries in the face of change.

Change is already coming to the Architecture profession.

The best way to adjust to change, or to make change happen, is by shifting boundaries and leveraging assets.
How might one consider an architect’s assets? As a professional their predominant assets are their skills & knowledge. An architect’s mastery is broad, covering many domains. Designer, Creative Thinker, Spatial Thinker, Technician, Politician, Manager, Lawyer, Historian, able to take a myriad of requirements and resolve them into a creative and resolute solution. The thing is, they’re also highly knowledgable, with specialist knowledge in construction and buildings.

They know about construction and buildings. That is their story. What if they were to develop specialist knowledge in other fields? What might their story be then? Where might the boundaries be positioned then?

It makes me curious.
If architects were to redesign their boundaries, what is it that they might be able to do?
What if architects didn’t design buildings?

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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