Architecture = Change

Let’s be honest here, change is what we do, it’s what we are, and hopefully not what we work for.  We are agents of change helping determine both its magnitude and direction.  Ok, that sounded a bit deep, but the essence of it is still basically true.  The work we do helps facilitate some sort of change in our world, no matter what particular angle of architecture you are coming from.  My suggestion would be to get on board, because it’s typically a pretty fun ride.

Loose Change

This is the 25th entry into the #ArchiTalks phenomenon.  I think we can call this little brain child of Bob’s a phenomenon now that I have heard it mentioned over and over on all the architectural blogs, podcasts, and websites that so many of us frequent.  This month’s theme was thought up by Lora Teagarden, “Architecture of Change”

I can hear the pushback already, well at least in my head I can.  “All architects want to just tear it down and design/build a new monument to themselves.”  Putting movies and stereotypes aside, no that’s not the case.  Whether it is designing to protect a certain areas natural state, a preservation effort to save an historic structure, remodeling a building to better suit the new inhabitants, or even creating something brand new; we are helping and even organizing an effort of change that will (hopefully, maybe even wishfully)  bring about a better environment or outcome than what was previous.  I am about 99.99% sure that no architect in the history of architects has ever been tasked with coming up with a solution for keeping something exactly the way it is, not a single change.  I mean really, what would be the point?  I guess the design and construction documents would be pretty easy…. Do Nothing!!   You would think that a profession that has innovation and advancement at its core would be open to all sorts of changes to not only the ideas, materials, and methods by which we shape the built environment, but to how we operate and identify as a profession.  Well……maybe not as well as we should.  Ok don’t get me wrong here, it’s not as if we aren’t progressing; we just might be moving a bit slow in some estimations and we have a few setbacks every now and then.  cough…#statementgate…cough

So if you had to think up the stereotypical architect, what would you think?  Probably the old, grey haired, self absorbed guy that had little regard for anyone else’s ideas except his own.  Like I said before, thanks movies!!  But some stereotypes have a bit of truth to them.  Ouch, sometimes the truth hurts.  Here’s the cool thing, this is not the movies, this is real life, we can make adjustments and start to fix some of the things that need to be.  We don’t have to follow a pre-written script, we can make this up as we go along.

I think it really boils down to two things… Technology and people.  Probably not that different from a lot of professions.  Architects are notoriously stubborn with their choices in the realm of technology.  But I think this one is actually the easier of the two to fix.  The profession as a whole needs to learn to embrace it.  I don’t think you are going to see many arguments in this group over that point, they probably wouldn’t be a part of this if they didn’t see the value.  Here’s the secret as I see it, architects need to stop arguing over digital vs. analog, Revit vs. ArchiCAD, or some other silly comparison.  Why not use each of these in whatever way helps advance the story and the design.  There, wasn’t that easy.  Now the hard one… people.  We’re a complex bunch, with prejudices and bias that have been learned over a lifetime.  Not the easiest of things to recognize let alone overcome.  Now before you think I’m going to ramble on about how bad people are and everything that is wrong with us, take a deep breath.  This is the part where it turns into a good thing.

We’ve started to recognize the flaws within the profession, we’ve started talking about them, we’ve started to address them.  Equity, licensing requirements, access to education, and even exposure at an early age have limited the profession from the benefits of countless people.  Every one of these and more are huge obstacles to work on, what do we do to get passed them.  Ok, maybe this is going to sound a bit simplistic since I said this was the harder of the two, but the one thing I have seen have the biggest impact over and over again is just simply getting involved.  Do something, don’t just complain, make some sort of difference.  I don’t think I really had a voice in architecture until I started doing more than just my job.  I joined a couple of committees and had my voice heard for once.  Some of the things I suggested have actually been put out there.  And trust me, if my ideas are good enough to be put into motion, wait until someone with some really good ideas comes along.


I keep thinking about a question that Michael Riscica of Young Architect asks all of the people he interviews on his podcast.  “What do you do better than anyone else you know?”  I think I have the perfect answer for him.  Nothing.  Really, nothing at all.  I t’s not that I really do anything better, I’ve just realized (probably should have learned this a bit earlier) that I just need to do it.  You know, it.  Whatever that is, you’ll fail, you’ll succeed, whatever, but at least you made a difference, at least you changed something.

I have a bit of a long term project I am working on, I think it’s going to not only profoundly change the profession, but do more than I could have ever imagined.


To see what everyone else thinks will change, check out all of the post links below.

Marica McKeel – Studio MM (@ArchitectMM)
ArchiTalks : Architecture of Change

Lee Calisti, AIA – Think Architect (@LeeCalisti)
architecture for change

Lora Teagarden – L² Design, LLC (@L2DesignLLC)
Architect(ure) of Change

Collier Ward – One More Story (@BuildingContent)
Architecture of Change

Jeremiah Russell, AIA – ROGUE Architecture (@rogue_architect)
architecture of change: #architalks

Eric T. Faulkner – Rock Talk (@wishingrockhome)
Change — The Document Evolution

brady ernst – Soapbox Architect (@bradyernstAIA)
The Architecture of Change: R/UDAT

Michael LaValley – Evolving Architect (@archivalley)
My Architecture of Change / Hitting Pause to Redesign My Life

Brinn Miracle – Architangent (@architangent)
Architecture of Change: Building a Legacy

Samantha R. Markham – The Aspiring Architect (@TheAspiringArch)
3 Things I Hope Change in Architecture

Nisha Kandiah – ArchiDragon (@ArchiDragon)
The art of Architecture of Change

Jim Mehaffey – Yeoman Architect (@jamesmehaffey)

Mark Stephens – Mark Stephens Architects (@architectmark)
The Architecture of Change


9 Replies to “Architecture = Change”

  1. Great cliffhanger there, Brian; “I have a bit of a long term project I am working on, I think it’s going to…profoundly change the profession.”

    Can’t wait to read THAT post.

    You mentioned erroneous movie stereotypes of architects. That’s where I’m spending the last third of my career – writing, finding, and promoting books and movies that get it right. Maybe we can collaborate sometime.

    Nice post.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Architecture

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