A project and interviews

images-2We are undergoing a few projects here at the Wilson house.  There is one that has become a bit of a family collaboration which is a really good thing.  Part of the process has been interviewing architects.  It has been really interesting.  We met four groups in one day.  I can’t help but compare it to the start-up world.  Although we talked about the same thing in each meeting, the conversations were all completely different and we learned a lot from each meeting.  Just like a founder goes out and talks to investors, from the angels at the start to the VC’s when different series take place, each meeting is different.  You connect with some, you don’t connect with others and you learn a lot along the way.

There were two comments made over the course of the day that I continue to think about.  We commented to one architect how his work does not have a theme, that most of his work looks different and that there appears to be a process to each that created different environments.  He said his biggest fear was losing that pursuit of new, new ideas and new concepts.  He told us a story about a good friend that he went to graduate school with who became a professor.  There was a professor that they both revered in graduate school.  His friend now teaches at the same institution that they went to.  He commented to him the other day “Remember that professor that we thought was so incredible and really inspired us well guess what, he is stuck in the 80’s”?  The architect that we were speaking to said that is his biggest fear becoming stuck in a time warp.

I think that the constant creativity and desire for pushing the envelope is something I always look for in an entrepreneur.  To be able to evolve your product, your team and your business is so important otherwise you hit a wall.  Most people hit walls at points.  People stop listening to new music and are super comfortable listening to the same artists that they listened to 30 years ago.  Some people are comfortable in the same haircut that they had at 20 for life.  Some people are happy with the same clothing that they wore in college even at 50.  I get it but from a business angle I want to see someone who is happy with change, they crave it.

Then this architect made a comment that really resonated on many levels.  He basically said that if he doesn’t feel uncomfortable during the process then he isn’t doing his job.  I believe that every founder should feel uncomfortable as they grow businesses because that forces you to be creative.  It is the mistakes, the failures, the sleepless nights, the uncertainty that creates great companies.  There are so many factors when you build something and if at every turn you feel completely as ease then you are not pushing for more.

What is the most interesting is how each architect went through the process of an idea to a home.  All the same but all so very different.  It was a fascinating day, a lot of think about and a great start to a long process.

Comments (Archived):

  1. Jess Bachman

    Interesting. I wish I was merely uncomfortable with the change I am making, but its more a turbulent mix of fear and faith (non-religious). I knew when I started I was going to hit some walls, I just want to hit them as fast as I could so I can change direction. Feels like running a maze with a blindfold on.Kudos to that architect who seeks to be uncomfortable. It sometimes feels like you have no choice, or rather you do… but you really don’t.

    1. Gotham Gal

      You do and don’t. Exactly

  2. Sunchowder

    Yes, everything is subject to change, so you must embrace each one.

  3. daryn

    Love the idea of always changing and always challenging yourself, but part of what I love about architecture is seeing the fingerprint of the architect on the work. Being able to look at a house and having a guess as who designed it. Not having it look like it was designed by committee, but by one opinionated person listening to feedback from others. It certainly doesn’t mean all their houses should look the same, but thematically I think you want to see evolution and refinement versus a complete revolution with every project.Our architect is building a couple other houses near ours, and at first I was disappointed in how similar they looked. On closer inspection though, I really appreciated the differences: all have shed roofs, but different pitches and overhangs, they all have similar color palettes, but use different materials, and each had a specific feature that makes it distinctive from the others.

    1. Gotham Gal

      specific features allows architects to essentially build their brand.

      1. daryn

        Yep, key (for me) is that their brand feature doesn’t feel gimmicky.

        1. Gotham Gal

          for sure

  4. Lisa Merritt

    The architect’s honesty is refreshing, seems like in many creative professions there are big egos involved. Even the most creative and talented can get stale. I find most of the time the uncomfortable processes eventually turn exciting as your vision is realized. It’s certainly not easy though.

    1. Gotham Gal

      definitely not easy as most architects have tremendous egos.

  5. Brandon Burns

    “Then this architect made a comment that really resonated on many levels. He basically said that if he doesn’t feel uncomfortable during the process then he isn’t doing his job.”The “uncomfortable” saying is one that is preached daily by folks in creative fields, from design to film to architecture. Whether people really believe that is one thing, but it’s culturally apart of the fabric.It’s not culturally apart of the fabric of tech.Most creative industries take big chances all the time. +50% of any TV station’s lineup of shows for next year are new. +90% of the pieces you see in any new fashion house’s collection will be new.Also, most creative industries, from fashion to TV, have (imperfect, but still comparatively) healthy female and minority representation.Yet tech, ironically, isn’t about the new. It’s about the tested, tried and true. It’s common knowledge that VCs, who at the end of the day make tech happen, rely on pattern recognition, which in and of itself leads to things that are not new — no new ways of evaluating products, founders, hiring (more diverse) employees, scaling, none of it. It’s all about who’s the next Uber vs. who’s the next something that doesn’t look like something that’s been seen before. Tech puts the few truly new things on a pedestal (look at Snapchat!) but then turns a blind eye to the other 99% that’s really not new at all.Yet, when a crash happens, it’s the tech stocks that tumble. Media, fashion, design services — they get hit, too, but they always seem to weather the storm. If not thrive. They know how to constantly push the envelope and reinvent themselves, while tech folks go into hibernation until investors feel like pulling out checkbooks again.Tech could learn a lot from the creative industries.

    1. Gotham Gal

      creativity is a gift.

      1. Brandon Burns

        or a curse. ha.

  6. Farhan Lalji

    Think that’s also a career development conundrum. Do I stay for a long time doing something I can do well, or do I leave because I’ve gotten too comfortable?

  7. aminTorres

    Great post.I’ve talked to many architects in the last few years and like this post, the ones that have made more lasting impacts are the ones who’s projects are always unique and different.They make them more about the site, the locale, the purpose of the building, etc., as supposed to making a set personal style work in a given situation.http://amintorres.tumblr.co… I’ve done real stat projects in the last 10 months in the Dom. Rep. Small ones but a ton of fun. I’ve had the luck to actually design the two main ones myself while working closely with a young architect. Construction projects are fun. 🙂

    1. Gotham Gal

      Cool projects. Agree…construction projects are fun

      1. Pointsandfigures

        Early investors like building stuff!

  8. Pointsandfigures

    Very interesting. Does who you decide to invest in reflect your choice in an architect? ?

    1. Gotham Gal

      it’s all the same in many ways.