Architecture in the Age of Ideas

Now that we've kicked the first decade of the 21st century, it's a good time to reassess how we work, from the generation of ideas to the way we communicate them.  The digitalization of life has spawned an age of conceptualization- a unique opportunity for ideas to be communicated and valued as never before possible. Information of all sorts is readily available to anyone who can use a search engine.  This can lead to frustration on the part of architects, we feel that our clients think they can do our job for us, that our services are being cherry-picked away by owners representatives and contractors.  It makes us want to turn inward, draw a line in the sand and try to create value for our work through exclusivity.  And that would be a big mistake.

Sure competition for what we traditionally defined as our services has increased while perhaps value has reacted in inverse proportion.  But what do those traditionally defined services have to do with being an architect anyway?  Ask any child what an architect does and you'll get the heart of the matter- we deign buildings.  Who really cares that at some point someone created phases of design and structured contracts around those phases?  Maybe they don't make sense anymore.  Maybe we can do better and be more fulfilled if we stop being competitive and instead focus our main reason for doing this at all- designing buildings.

What our clients need more than anything is someone to take the overwhelming amount of information that exists out there and distill it down to apply to their situation and solve their problem.  They need fresh thinking and innovation- someone willing to synthesize seemingly unrelated issues into a cohesive whole. No owner's rep or contractor can do that.  I challenge everyone not to hoard their knowledge, but to share it.  Make it free and easy to access your ideas, knowing that the more people are aware of them, the more powerful they will become.  Change the world.