Architecture according to Seth Godin

I just found this interesting reflection about architects on Seth Godin‘s blog, “A lesson from a great architect”:

Architecture is a combination of sculpture and art and engineering and user interface. It is high tech and low tech at the same time, utilitarian and beautiful and virtually always budget constrained.

But do you know what great architects understand?

If you don’t get it built, the work doesn’t matter.

Great architects are able to be great because they know how to sell their ideas to their clients. (Or, they know how to find clients who will build their ideas. Same thing.)

If you’re brilliant and undiscovered and underappreciated (in whatever field you choose), then you’re being too generous about your definition of brilliant.

Cite: Basulto, David. "Architecture according to Seth Godin" 22 Jun 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 27 May 2015. <>
  • rwhtx

    Valid — if not obvious — point. But don’t confuse selling with brilliance. If you do, then you’re selling brilliance short.


    difference between genius and mad:

  • bLogHouse

    there are many, many examples of built work which would have been better off left on paper. Turns out ‘greatness’ is not about brilliance, it’s about the size of the ego.

  • up_today_arch

    ok, but some architects sold a few small) projects (Zumthor), some of them sold dozens (Hadid), are they different as a genius?

  • Greg P

    I agree with Seth Godin. Here’s what I think he’s saying:

    Greatness is determined largely by consensus, and building a consensus takes a lot of people’s opinions. So if an architect can’t successfully sell and build their designs, it’s more difficult to get enough people to form a uniform consensus about their work.

    Architects who don’t have many built works can certainly have adherents, but popular consensus-driven greatness may remain elusive.

    • Dan L

      I think he’s talking more about production, but not necessarily through consensus. Yes, it’s nicer when a lot more people agree to the design. But more importantly, what good is a design if nobody knows about it?

      This made me think of Lebbeus Woods. I wonder what Seth Godin thinks of him…