Basic Architectural Practice
Course Notes for Session 5
...Review of Practice Types
In the last few sessions we have talked about architectural practice types. There are many and each contributes to the overall knowledge base of how to get this art done. Each involves a trade off. You have to select/invent the one right for you and invest time in learning how to make it work.
...Tour of the KnOwhere Store
The KnOwhere Store as you see it tonight is about 50% finished - it has a complex and specific mission. It exemplifies the practice principles I have been talking to you about.
...Taylor Projects as precursors
There are a number of my earlier works that, in some way, contribute to the Bay Area Project. Here is how.
...What am I saying?
In total, this is a different approach to the practice of architecture. One that I have evolved out of 44 plus years of experience. You have to choose you own path. What they did not teach in school is that the path you choose will have such an impact on the outcome. For some reason most architects seem to feel that what they design is not directly related to how they design nor to the organization they employ to do it. You can only build what you are. Choose carefully, with awareness and with an appreciation of what you truly want to accomplish.
Choose carefully, with a mature understanding of your tolerance to risk, your financial requirements and your need for acceptance. Some paths may be more rewarding than others - they also may be more demanding along the way. Somewhere out there is a practice model, a community and an economic framework that fits your profile, talent and what you really want to do. You have to both find it and create it. Dont let someone elses model cloud your ability to assess yourself realistically in this regard. Dont think that somehow you will prevail no matter how you go about it.
Dont compromise - it isnt necessary. Dont demand less of yourself than you have to give - that is the fastest way to die there is. Dont try to be what you are not just because you like the work of someone who did it a certain way. Find your own voice and your own way of doing.
Whatever you choose, the nature of architecture does not change. Participation in the design, build, use process is necessary for the creation and keeping of great works. The social system we live in has a strong propensity to compromise - to select downward. ART is rare because it is hard work. Its takes genius and inspiration, yes. But that alone will not get it done. Architecture is a social art. It involves thousands of individuals and hundreds of institutions to execute the simplest of works. To do it well takes a ValueWeb. A web made up of dedicated people willing to learn how to make their art. It takes time to create a practice. The economic principle among those in this practice has to be equable - so does the opportunity to be creative. The relationships you build among your cathedral builders is critical - what you build will reflect it with total fidelity. Your organization is your architecture.
As you do your project reflect upon these ideas. Your task is to design an environment in which you will build your practice. You - and your ValueWeb - are your client. What should it be?
posted January 6, 2000
revised February 6, 2000
(note: this document is about 1% finished)
update to Matts Notebook