How Might Architects Be More Generous?

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Architects are generous.
They design generous buildings, generous spaces.
For the benefit of the public and for the benefit for the occupant.
Generosity, a word often used by architects when describing their projects. It describes something they are seeking to give back.

Could they give back more? Could they be more generous?

How might that look?

Generosity begins at home. How might we better acknowledge the good or great work that others in the profession do? How might we better support each other in our work? How might we go out of our way and find the time to do so?

What if we were to spend time visiting other architect’s projects, and not just the celebrated projects. Visit the more modest ones, they’re the important ones. Visit other architects at their offices, or gather, share ideas, share knowledge, share experience. Meet architects you don’t know, those that are outside your regular circle. By doing so we grow the profession. We show that we value the work that the profession does as a whole. We build trust.

There are other important questions to ask. Questions that elevate a more generous posture.

Instead of, “I don’t have time to contribute to the profession.” How about, “How might I find a small amount of time to give something back to the profession?” or “What ways can I contribute positively to the profession in a way that everyone benefits, perhaps even me?” Pro tip, paying your membership fees is not a generous answer.

Generosity requires that we do more than the minimum required. People know when you only do the minimum. When you do more, when it’s exceptional, people are grateful. Generosity serves others. Serving others is central to what the profession does. Doing the minimum is adequate. Adequate denies the opportunity to do your best. Be more generous.

If it seems too difficult, too challenging, here’s a simple first step.

The next time you have an urge to criticise another architect, a project, someone trying to do something of benefit to the architectural profession, leave it. Don’t say it out load, post it in a forum or write it in an email. Keep it to yourself or better still be curious. Why might this architect think or do this? Why might this have been the outcome? Perhaps an answer will reveal something you hadn’t understood. Perhaps you’ll have an answer that allows you to offer support or assistance.

Here’s another strategy towards generous.

When whinging about the architect’s 3 dirty “C” words, Councils, Consultants or Clients, instead be curious. What if you were to be told that these people were doing their best? What could you now see? Why might they be the way they are? How would you think more generously about them? What support could you offer? How might you help them and in doing so, maybe yourself?

It turns out that generosity costs very little, and is always valued.

How might you be more generous today?

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

Photo by Cameron Rainey on Pexels

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