I was at the ballet recently when during intermission I struck up a conversation with a senior couple. Apparently asking professors of public health what they're doing about the cootie epidemic counts as an icebreaker.
The husband, when finding out I have my own architecture practice, asked me, "How do you survive? Aren't all doctors and architects giving up sole practitioner offices to be in big corporations?"
I smiled. He's not entirely wrong. I know that there is more stability for employees in a big corporation. But that isn't what attracts me. I explained how my work is about the one on one relationship between client and architect. I feed off of that direct rapport. The opposite, working on mega projects with no direct communications with the client, is familiar to me. What I took away from that experience was my focus on big ideas. Small minded people start with details without determining the big idea (think, designing to imitate trends). It is a limiting, shallow way of thinking. Big projects can't afford to run that way. Big picture thinking to unify and direct all the details. I seek that high level of thinking to any project whether it's big or small. The big ideas organize the minutiae. They tell you where to go. Without it, you are flying by the seat of your pants making decisions without unifying principles. The result of that haphazard approach is a mishmash. The result of ideas driven work that is seen through to the end is where the gut checking, moving architecture comes from.
It reminded me of David Lynch's book, "Catching the Big Fish". The big ideas, what physicists call the unifying principles, are what drive the universe.
"Ideas are like fish. If you want to catch little fish, you can stay in the shallow water. But if you want to catch the big fish, you've got to go deeper. Down deep, the fish are more powerful and more pure. They're huge and abstract. And they're very beautiful."
It doesn't take a 300 person international office to make big ideas, it just takes the right fisherman.
Despite the excitement of working on projects around the world for others, I knew that working for myself and having a direct connection to my clients is more important for me. I'm happy to work on far flung corners of the world only as long as I have that connection.
You may also like -