INTEG Autumn 2013
Avoiding Issues: Mandate Effective Communication
“I prefer Drawing to talking. Drawing is faster and leaves less room for Lies.”
A wonderful quote from one of the world’s great architects, LeCorbusier. I’m not certain of the year, but it was in the early 1900’s as LeCorbusier was born in 1887.
When I ran across this quote recently, I reflected upon TEG’s focus on communicating design ideas to our clients and the communities we serve. And more often I am accused of going overboard in the extensiveness and scope of presentations.
Yes, TEG draws and illustrates constantly, to convey the collaborative design solutions we create with valuable input from our clients and expanded design team members.
But, drawing is what architects are supposed to do; what we are trained to do.
This is not to imply that anyone intentionally misleads, but during my career, I have given and seen many architectural presentations. During these, I’ve watched clients and end users view a design presentation and robotically nod, as if they understood everything the presenter was showing them. That is where the trouble begins.
The architect is receiving reinforcement that, Yes, “The client understands what I’m showing them.” When the client (who is not necessarily versed in “reading” two-dimensional drawings or verbal explanations of space utilization) may have no idea what they are looking at, due to the quality of the presentation relative to their project experience.
The client is inadvertently “leading” the architect by saying things like, “Yes, “I think the space is perfect or I like the design.” When in actuality, they do not fully understand what they are approving.
Two “lies”, which can be caused by poor communication or a less-than-thorough understanding of the client’s level of design knowledge and the architect’s deliverable quality, which can result in ill-timed changes and/or dissatisfied clients.
Not everyone uses the “right side” (known to represent the artistic area of the brain) of their brain to visualize abstract concepts, it is the architect’s responsibility to use theirs coupled with talent to produce sketches, renderings, illustration, plans, vignettes and videos to provide clarity to our clients and decision makers so they can see with understanding and certainty, what the future holds.
I’m fairly certain that when LeCorbusier spoke of Drawing and Lies, he didn’t mean communicating design solutions was a source of potential lies. The contrast between our era and LeCorbusier’s, we now use exceptional computer technology and human talent to illustrate our design solutions so that clients can visualize their spaces; in reality the advent of technology assists our profession in conveying how these spaces will function and how they can be optimized, which is wholly about truth and transparency.
Drawing for an architect is much like a doctor listening to a patient’s heart. It is what we do and is the foundation of our profession and craft. If it keeps our relationships void of “lies”, all the better.
LeCorbusier would be proud that his wisdom continues to define the practice of architecture and how we serve clients and communities.
Keep Drawing and Carry On.
All the best,
R. Wayne Estopinal, AIA, ACHA, LEED AP
President – TEG