Architects don’t have all the answers

and architects aren’t going to learn from new questions and their answers if they continue to just talk amongst themselves.

It’s astonishing the number of talks and conferences that are concertedly architects speaking amongst themselves.

This isn’t to critique any particular talk, symposium or conference. But it’s remarkable the number themed around promoting the profession, making change in the profession or discussing its future and don’t have any participants outside of the profession.

I have questions…

Why does the architecture profession think it has all the answers?

What’s to fear in letting in other voices to these discussions?

What might be learnt through seeking out new or alternate voices and ways of thinking and seeing the world?

Where is the interesting work to adopt new ideas and thinking in with the express idea to introduce evolutionary thinking into another profession?

Whose insights and ideas should architects introduce into their thinking?

Architects don’t need to listen, but it’s not a great look for a contemporary profession to exclude insights from outside of the profession.

It leads to inbreeding

The failure to introduce new ideas is a kind of inbreeding. Especially if the best ideas survive through a form of evolutionary pressures. It’s the survival of the fittest ideas.

The profession would be well served to seek out new ideas to prevent the inbreeding of their current thinking.

Opportunities missed

The reality is that architects aren’t alone in isolating themselves from external voices. Many professions do likewise. But introducing new ways of seeing and thinking is a form of leadership.

It’s not leadership. Introducing new people and their thinking extends the professional network. It creates goodwill. And it might allow opportunities to open up in others areas.

There’s nothing like seeing yourself through the eyes of others. It’s often confronting but there’s so much to be learnt. It’s not always bad, sometimes it’s very good, shining a light on something to leverage. When the insight is not so flattering it’s an opportunity to remedy a problem to the profession’s benefit.

It’s all upside

There’s no downside to architects including more outside voices in their talks and thinking. I’m curious to see the impact of taking such action. My challenge to architects is to actively seek out new sources of ideas to challenge their thinking and the status quo.


Picture by Engin Akyurt [edited]

Hi! I’m Michael

I’m an architect and coach, helping the professional culture of the architecture profession. I believe the best way to do this is support leadership development.

I’ve worked in architecture for almost 30 years, and 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 help practices work on their leadership team and strategies. Supporting practices to become more open, fluid, and adaptable. Realising the collective energy, passion, and capabilities of their people.

Interested in hearing I can help? Let’s chat about the leadership development of you or your team.
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