Talking to your Architect


Excuse me (my dear architect), but you’re being an ass.

Yes, kind of

sort of

maybe a little bit

Am I bothering you with my petty contract? Is this job just not your “ideal” project? Doesn’t it fit into your “body of work”? your “oeuvre”? Is this project not going to win you any awards?

I know you’re talented. I know you know more about building and design than I EVER will. In fact that’s why I hired you. I need your help. I need you to help me realize this project. I need your skill. I need your experience. And yes, I need your passion.

But, I don’t need any more of your bullshit.

I don’t want you to show me what to build. I want you to include me in the process. I’m not paying you for the privilege of your “vision”. I’m paying you to help me solve this. I assumed I would be a part of that process.

I want to tell you about my ideas. I want to discuss options. I want to tell you how I came to believe the things that I believe in about this building. I want this to be a discussion, between you and me. I want you to talk TO me, not AT me.

When I don’t understand what you’re saying, I want you to repeat it, using words that we both understand. I know you’re smart, but, I’m just as intelligent as you are. My focus is just in a different place than yours. So, stop looking down your nose at me through those black-rimmed glasses. I’m not calling you out on your lack of understanding of the subtleties of my profession, am I?

I need you to hear me when I speak. I’m not talking to hear the sound of my own voice. I’m trying to tell you what I need. I can repeat it if you want.

No, I’m not asking you to simply do what I say. I don’t want you to take dictation. I can’t do it. I’m not an architect. I don’t have years of experience doing this. I haven’t run into every pitfall we can find along this path. I don’t know how to visualize it. I don’t know how to put it into words. I can’t draw it. I can’t even tell you why I don’t like what you just showed me. And, I know it doesn’t help when I say:

“I’m not sure why, but I just don’t like it”

“I can’t put my finger on it… could it be….more inviting?”

“I just don’t see it yet”

I know, that doesn’t make sense. I’m new at this. This is why I hired you. I need YOU to find a way to understand whats giving me this pit in my stomach. And, I need you to find a way soon, because this is the most money I’ve ever spent in my life, and I’m not spending any of it while I’m feeling this…. Fear

So yes, I heard you.

But, there’s a thin line between saying something that’s true and saying something that makes me wonder if you’ve ever heard a single word I’ve said. I need you to take a minute and see which side of that line you’re on.

Go on.

I’ll wait

Now help me understand why I hate what you just designed for me.



photos are from Thomas Hawk’s photostream on Flickr (used under creative commons license)