The Architect as Leader
So, after some twenty years of practice….it has just washed over me that our profession is rooted in leadership. The profession of architect is populated with many great minds….forward thinkers. Most of us were the kid in the elementary classroom who saw something different when the teacher presented a lesson. I remember my classmates looking at me with puzzled bewilderment and confronting me about my viewpoint. Often, they would chuckle at my comments, and questioned my viewpoints. And, I learned to live with it. At an early age, I had no idea that I saw a different presentation than the others…but I felt a bit outside of the box and quickly gained awareness that I held a different perspective. Often, I was able to discern what would be popular in music…it just sounded like a hit. The same was true about movies, sports figures, and political trends. Somehow, I was able to predict what others might find relevant. After gaining this awareness, I worked to translate my thinking and unique perspective into a leadership role. Instead of becoming a person who stood off to the side dwelling on my lack of ability to fit in…I celebrated my unique perspective and turned this gift into an attribute. Soon, people were coming to me for my “insight” on music, fashion and design trends. I was the go to guy who was in the know. It worked.
I am certain that this personality trait is why I selected architecture as my profession. I have always enjoyed leading others to find delight in new things. And, being an architect allows me that perfect opportunity to create new places where people are enriched. At WSA Studio, we attract architects and designers who are passionate leaders of design. Collectively, we support each other through collaboration and lift each other up through enlightened criticism. We believe that the best design solution is that option which has survived the gauntlet of intense criticism. We all know that the public will be much more harsh than any one individual. And, often our designs are recognized for design leadership…over our firm’s forty two year history we have been recognized many times by our peers with design awards.
In order to lead design, we know that there is a strong need to manage design process. Without organization, there is no success in leading design outcomes and there is no impact of our creative efforts. We have developed management protocols and systems to help to lead design process which are rooted in communication…through drawings, scheduling, analysis, and the written and spoken word. Communication is our tool to lead design.
In the words of the famous American writer Thomas Paine , “Lead, follow, or get out of the way”. We choose to lead!