Talking to your Architect

Excuse me architect, but you’re being an ass.

Yes, kind of…sort of…maybe a little bit

Am I bothering you with my petty contract? Is this job just not your “ideal” project? Doesn’t it fit into your “body of work”? your “oeuvre”? Is this project not going to win you any awards?

I know you’re talented. I know you know more about building and design than I EVER will. In fact that’s why I hired you. I need your help. I need you to help me realize this project. I need your skill. I need your experience. And yes, I need your passion.

But, I don’t need any more of your bullshit.

I don’t want you to show me what to build. I want you to include me in the process. I’m not paying you for the privilege of your “vision”. I’m paying you to help me solve this. I assumed I would be a part of that process.

click thru for more angst from coffee with an architect



When I don’t understand what you’re saying, I want you to repeat it, using words that we both understand. I know you’re smart, but, I’m just as intelligent as you are. My focus is just in a different place than yours. So, stop looking down your nose at me through those black-rimmed glasses. I’m not calling you out on your lack of understanding of the subtleties of my profession, am I?

I need you to hear me when I speak. I’m not talking to hear the sound of my own voice. I’m trying to tell you what I need. I can repeat it if you want.

No, I’m not asking you to simply do what I say. I don’t want you to take dictation. I can’t do it. I’m not an architect. I don’t have years of experience doing this. I haven’t run into every pitfall we can find along this path. I don’t know how to visualize it. I don’t know how to put it into words. I can’t draw it. I can’t even tell you why I don’t like what you just showed me. And, I know it doesn’t help when I say:

“I’m not sure why, but I just don’t like it”

“I can’t put my finger on it… could it be….more inviting?”

“I just don’t see it yet”

I know, that doesn’t make sense. I’m new at this. This is why I hired you. I need YOU to find a way to understand whats giving me this pit in my stomach. And, I need you to find a way soon, because this is the most money I’ve ever spent in my life, and I’m not spending any of it while I’m feeling this…. Fear

So yes, I heard you.

But, there’s a thin line between saying something that’s true and saying something that makes me wonder if you’ve ever heard a single word I’ve said. I need you to take a minute and see which side of that line you’re on.

Go on.

I’ll wait

Now help me understand why I hate what you just designed for me.



photos are from Thomas Hawk’s photostream on Flickr (used under creative commons license)


Granted, I’m being extreme here, at least I hope I am. But, I’m worried about the way our profession communicates with the public and with our clients. So honestly, how do you think we’re doing? Great? Fair? Unbelievably badly? Am I the only one with this pit in my stomach?

Jody { coffee with an architect }

About this author
Cite: Jody Brown. "Talking to your Architect" 31 Jan 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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