Are You an Architecture Bliss-ninny?

Do you eagerly await the next installment of your favorite design mag, have books chronicling the work of your favorite architect and actively follow you favorite firms and design blogs?  While there is nothing wrong with having heroes, appreciating good design or learning about trends or amazing ideas, there is a fine line between celebrating and sharing creativity and defining success as an architect by stylistic trends. Are we accepting the wrong premise?

If you can believe that success is not about calibrating yourself within the spectrum of your competition, but instead about you and what you contribute right now, would it matter if some other firm was bigger or had done more projects?  We need to stop defining ourselves by the terms set by others who have been successful- that is who they are, what they did, and however great an accomplishment, it does not represent the only or best answer that will ever be possible to achieve.  

Don't get lulled into conventional thinking about what design is all about.  My 16 years as a practicing architect have lead me to both moments of glory and despair about my career.  I believe that you can  keep the faith as an architect, and it is in the moments when I have done so that I have realized my greatest successes. Below are my design canons. Click the links for more in-depth information on each:
  1. Stop being rick-adverse. You lose your design magic when you lose sight of your design values and stop promoting them.  You can never take a risk if you are afraid to fail and no great innovation comes without risk.
  2. Know what you stand for as an architect.When you are engaged in what you do and really believe in it and yourself, that passion allows you to make the connections that truly move a client to believe in you as well. 
  3. It's about innovating, not about competing. Calculating and worrying as a management style leads us to view our profession as a hostile environment where we are trying to beat out competition to a few scare resources and opportunities.  This kind of mindset holds us back from our true potential and the limitless abundance that it can bring.
Know yourself and promote your unique vision, follow the heroes whose work informs that vision.  Don't just smile and nod your head in the face of the design media and profession's definition of success.