Are architects and designers closed-minded people? It may appear that way, architects can get a bad rep sometimes in regards to this. But why?
Is it ego? Not wanting to accept other ideas? Recently I was doing a walk through of a project with an electrical engineer, and upon walking into an electrical room where some electricians were working, I was introduced as “the architect,” (Kind of cool, not totally correct but a nice gesture at least), following that comment, the electrician goes “aghh.. the architect…”
Now, I thought of this for a bit. Why do architects get a bad rep? I know architects are thought to “just want to make things pretty” and not logical, but that is not true. The stereotypical architect seems to be closed-minded.
Closed-minded in regards to design is one thing, but there is another side of being closed-minded. We can become closed-minded on what issues in the world our work can relate to.
“To make design more relevant is to reconsider what “design” issues are….We have limited our potential by seeing most major human concerns as unrelated to our work.”
If we as designers can re-evaluate what design issues are, we will come to find out there are numerous clients out there with needs leading to unique design challenges. Not only can this lead to rewarding challenges, it can lead to serving a much larger range of people.
Achieving this will require a change in the way we work. Many of us are working at firms that take on projects of similar program in which we are familiar with. There are two different practices stretching away from conventional practice defined in the book Good Deeds, Good Design: Community Service through Architect;
Activist practice: the act of architects leaving the office, engaging a community, and seeking a need for design in that community, rather than passively waiting for clients to come to them.
Operative practice: any intentional, creative action – formal, programmatic, fiscal, functional, physical, social, political, or aesthetic – that achieves lasting positive change.
These two models are great examples that we can follow and learn from. Stepping outside of our comfort zone can lead to new opportunities, great experiences, and lasting impacts.