Deviant Architecture Practice

Status quo is always appears to be the easier option. There’s no apparent risk and things just keep going as they are. Easy.

The problem with the status quo is that it can institute entitlement and takes no heed of potential changes disrupting the cosy status.

Architects are big on status quo. Keenly and jealously guarding their roles, responsibilities and the way they work. There are pros and cons here. The thing is, architectural practice has been subject to disruption for decades and it’s not finished. Maintaining the status quo is not working.

One option is to swim against the tide, desperately trying to maintain the status quo. Another is to think more creatively about how to deliver change.

How then might architects move on from the status quo? There might be opportunities in repositioning or at least reframing their work and services. What if this was not only in bringing value to their work and the profession but more importantly to the public? How then might the perception of the profession shift and bring new opportunity?

The greatest potential for impact on architectural practice might be found in delivering what the public values, value that the public seeks (not the profession). By doing so emotional capital is generated. When people fall in love with a different idea of the future, change is possible and opportunity available.

There are many other opportunities and possibilities elsewhere. As has been observed many times, architects could leverage existing skills to do different work. More interesting might be to develop and embrace adjacent skills, or skills to complement the professional kit. New skills might contribute to a new form of practice — eg adding software skills, as a number of practices have, developing and successfully unselling either as product or service. Skills and knowledge might be developed to open up new territory, eg in climate adaptation. One thing is clear, there’s more opportunities in change.

Status quo is not an option

Hi! I’m Michael

I’m an architect and coach. I help architects rethink their practice and support them as they uncover better ways to work. I’ve worked in architecture for over 25 years, and I ran my own practice for 14 years. I understand architectural practice from the inside out. Fun Fact: my NSW architect’s registration is #10 007 and I have a license to skill.

I believe improving practice takes asking hard questions and deep listening.

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