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3 Words


3 Words

It is again time for an #architalks blog post. I am still really new to being a part of this so I will explain a little bit about architalks. It is a loose organization of architectural bloggers that all write about the same topic each month. The topic is picked by Bob Borson and there are quite a few different people who write from time to time. There is a list of some of this months participants at the bottom.

This month the topic is “3 words”. I really love this series because just like with architectural design even though everyone starts at the same place, there is incredible diversity in results. This month as soon as I heard the topic is knew what my three words would be.

Freakonomics calls these the three hardest words in the English language (it is a great listen if you have a few minutes). But for me they represent the spark that starts a new adventure.

As architects, we have a really interesting relationship with this phase. Often we are placed in the scenarios where we are supposed to be “the expert” (A position in which I hope I will always feel at least a little bit awkward), but we are also trained to always be searching and learning. One of the best ways to begin learning is to admit that there is something to be learned, ie I am not a know it all expert. When I have found myself in these positions I often say “I don’t know” as much as I know an answer. It doesn't seem like this is how it should work, but this is how I like it. It proves that each project is a unique adventure waiting to be explored.

By nature I, and most architects, are a curious lot. In the sense that we like to learn new things (but also we are kind of strange). For as long as I can remember I have loved to learn. I can remember as a young child doing “scientific experiments” with my dad. They were simply his way of teaching me about the world. At some point my brothers and I started to develop our own investigations. I vividly remember a certain contraption that involved matches hooked to a zipline flying through our living room. Halfway through the room they would then touch a perfectly placed striker. It took a number of variations, but we got it perfect and after lighting they would continue across the room ablaze.


“I don't know” how we didn't burn down the house.

Now that I am older (although perhaps no wiser) I still get excited whenever I have something new to learn. One of the beautiful things about architecture is that there is always something new to learn. Being in a profession that offers so many challenges is one of the primary reasons that I love what I do.

Each project begins by listing the things that are known. On some projects that list is fairly long, on some it is almost non-existent. When the client is coming with a strong understanding of the process and knowledge of what they want or it is really similar to projects that I have done in the past those lists are longer. Luckily even with these projects there is still a list of things that need to be discovered. When I get the opportunity to work with a client that doesn't build as much or on a new project type that list is shorter.

Either way after a list of knowns is established, it is time to get to work learning all of the many things that are needed to make a project successful. It might be all about getting to know the client and understanding how they are going to  be using the space, or it may be experimenting with all of the site constraints to better understand what can be built. Or one of another thousand different items.

There are endless possibilities of where you can go when you begin to design. But no matter where you end it began with the answer “I DON'T KNOW”

Here is a list of some of the other "3 Words" Articles on the Web

Lora Teagarden – L² Design, LLC – @L2DesignLLC
#ArchiTalks: I love it!

Andrew Hawkins, AIA – Hawkins Architecture, Inc. – @hawkinsarch
Three Favorite Architectural Words

Jes Stafford – Modus Operandi Design – @modarchitect
I Am Listening

Michele Grace Hottel – Michele Grace Hottel, Architect – @mghottel
architalk#9: my three favorite words

Meghana Joshi – IRA Consultants, LLC – @MeghanaIRA
My Three Favorite Words

Stephen Ramos – BUILDINGS ARE COOL – @sramos_BAC
My Three Favorite Words

Lee Calisti, AIA – Think Architect – @LeeCalisti
i make art

Eric Wittman – @rico_w
my three favorite [hardest] words

Marica McKeel – Studio MM – @ArchitectMM
Never Give Up

Michael Riscica – Young Architect – @YoungArchitxPDX
How’s it going… Finishing The Architect Exam?!??

Matthew Stanfield – FiELD9: architecture – @FiELD9arch
3 Words

Jeff Echols – Architect Of The Internet – @Jeff_Echols
What’s Your Story – My Three (or Four) Favorite Words

Amy Kalar – ArchiMom – @AmyKalar
My Three Favorite Words (Architalks #9)

Brian Paletz – The Emerging Architect – @bpaletz
I am in

Cindy Black – Rick & Cindy Black Architects
Spirit of Optimism (my three favorite words)