The Cost of Surprise

July 21, 2022

Coming to the end of my glass. Spend most of my sitting-time getting right with the whirlwind, listening to the noise. The louder, the better, it seems.

We can talk about the state of the union, we can talk about the state of Architecture. What are we seeing? “What are you working on?” The opening line among our peers. "And, what do you do?"

They say work is about relationships. My most active decisions right now are about - where should I NOT show up? They say ... that success is about showing up.

Architecture, indeed! Sticks and bricks, man. Why do we cut down the trees and dig in the dirt, and then talk about organic design and natural materials? Cause and effect, but we cut down these trees, and we bring in other trees from Canada, it’s confusing. We plant in the dirt, not for new crops, but to house communities.

These are noble goals, we have room to succeed, but it’s a very old craft, it’s a very old way of the world. In general, I believe that the future is about building small: many, many times, as much as you can to meet the needs and meet the proforma.

Refilled my glass, what else to say - I haven't cracked the secrets, the raison d’Architeture. The people I ask talk about people, about places, and sometimes they talk about Money. New ideas are rare, are they impossible? (they’re not). I think that new ideas are accidental. I think they surprise you when they happen. But – you’re also the only one who will see them happen, and then you have to stand up on the table and shout, and (can we admit it?) that part is hard. The shouting is hard. The shouting will cost you friends. So there goes the relationships--and if we know what’s happening--there goes the money. No body, no client, no staff member, no peer in another field, nobody wants to watch you be surprised, you’re on your own, you're at risk of disaster. Your best play, if we have the experience and the follow through, is to say, "we always do it that way."

Today I sat in a meeting, and I wasn’t surprised, I wasn't amazed, I was bored, and I felt unwanted. And, it hurt a lot, and I’m afraid I hurt other people, and I blame myself for (literally) coming late to the meeting.

Tomorrow, Friday, one day away, a new day to look for surprised, to get out of the way, and no one will object.