Ideas of Architecture

I think Architects may have an identity crisis.

Architects come up with ideas.  We’re trained to create. We’ve spent years studying and perfecting our craft. We’ve developed a highly refined ability to visualize solutions to problems, to balance divergent ideas, to weave structures into the built environment, and at times to put our own artistic stamp on a form. More so than any other profession, Architects have the ability to define the framework of our lives. We sculpt the individual spaces we live in and die in. We define the public spaces where we gather together.

Architects create our buildings and define our cities – from ideas, and blank sheets of paper.

But, the profession of Architecture is slightly different. For the most part, Architecture is a service industry. Clients come to us for help. Sometimes they “need” a building. A new office, a new home, a new space to worship, a new school, and, they want our expertise to help guide them through the complex process of creating a structure. Those are good clients to have. Sometimes they have a vision for a new development, and they need our help to realize it. Sometimes they see an opportunity for growth and they want to capitalize on it. Sometimes they have a new idea they want to implement. Sometimes they’ve just outgrown their current space and need more room. Sometimes they have a dream of what could be.

But, the client isn’t going to ask the Architect what they should build. They’re going to ask how they can get the building they already want built. They’re asking for a service not a vision.

I think this conflict between vision and service could be at the source of our identity crisis. We’re trained to create, but, we’re asked to facilitate. We can come up with ideas, but we’re paid to implement someone elses. That can make anyone a little edgy.

All projects begin with an idea… Architects come up with ideas…

Go have ideas.


photo of Houston Street Graffiti wall from David_Shankbone’s photostream on Flickr – used under creative commons license.