Friday, January 21, 2011

the 10 commandments of architecture...

...according to Jim Childress, FAIA:

1. Thou Shalt Not Compartmentalize: In addition to learning to design, thou should write well, spell correctly, figure out how to get jobs and keep clients happy, take out the trash, make a good cup of Joe, be able to build models, master sustainability as well as the latest technological tools. Do all this and more, EXCEPT ... hire a really good professional to photograph your work. It will pay off in awards and in landing new jobs.

2. Don’t Be Disappointed When a Client Rejects Your Design: It only means another opportunity to design. In architecture there are many solutions to the same question and designing is what you do.

3. Always Exceed Your Client’s Expectations: The corollary is: Establish attainable expectations.

4. Cost Counts: No matter what clients may say, or how deep their pockets, cost is foremost in the minds of all clients great and small. Make sure there is a clear, written understanding of the expected project cost and have a plan in case the budget gets out of whack.

5. Problems are Opportunities: Show them how good you are in a pinch.

6. Bad News Travels Fast: An unhappy client is your worst nightmare. The corollary is: Satisfied clients become good friends and good references.

7. Art First, Mammon Second: Make every project an artistic success, and you will thrive. If your first priority is making money, you will go broke.

8. Go Forth and Collaborate: Architecture is a team sport. Surround yourself with talented and enjoyable people, in the office and outside. Share the credit with colleagues and consultants. Run an open office. The fewer doors the better; and just one coffee pot where the designing herd can gather and ruminate.

9. Listen: Believe it or not, people besides you have good ideas and insights. This applies to clients, staff, builders, consultants, building users, even your spouse. In the end it will be your client’s building, not yours. If you want to be a star, move to Hollywood.

10. Do Right, Have Fun: Clients are spending a lot of money; they expect something special. There also should be some fun in the mix, for your client and for you as well.

If there were an 11th Commandment, it would be: Have a sense of humor.

I imagine that this list is infinitely variable as there are as many architects. what are your own 10?


Thursday, January 13, 2011

it's for the better...

...some semi-inspiring notes for the start of 2011:

remember-architecture is first and foremost about place & space...the objectification of architecture will come [ca.1990] and go [RIP Oct. 2008], but it is always about shaping the emptiness, defining the void, and making the invisible tangible. -taow, jan. 2011

...and a cautionary tale about a path already travelled:

an excerpt from Witold Rybczynski's recent article regarding the young architect's [and client's] need for adapting to the new economic climate []:

"What will happen to the anti-rationalists in this new, responsible world? It's not easy for an architect to change his spots—just look at the diminished fortunes of Paul Rudolph in the 1970s, or Skidmore, Owings & Merrill in the 1980s. The big names will coast on their reputations, finding commissions in increasingly obscure corners of the world. Turkmenistan, anyone? The losers will be the current generation of young graduates. Trained in the arcane arts of parametric design and generative architecture, they will find themselves facing a world of chastened clients who demand discipline, restraint, and common sense. Big chill, indeed.