This post is part 3 of an adaptation of How to Steal Like an Artist (and 9 Other Things Nobody Told Me), this engaging and instructive essay by Austin Kleon, a Texan artist and writer. Kleon states that “when people give you advice, they’re really just talking to themselves in the past.” What follows here is me talking to a previous version of myself, one 10 years younger, hopelessly naive and about to embark on a life in architecture.
3. Design the house in which you want to live
The status quo of living is to do what you know: daily routines; jobs that exploit your skill sets; the familiar. However, by definition, this only perpetuates what already exists in the world. The architect is a creator, a maker of new things. You must design not what you know, but what you like, what you want. Imagine the perfect world and draw a line from here to there. Each building you design should sit somewhere on that line.
Another way to think about it is this: every new building is an opportunity to alter the built environment for the better. Tight budgets, difficult clients and restrictive regulations are not excuses for bad buildings. Poor vision is responsible every time. So do yourself and the built environment a favour: aim as high as you can with every project. You may be buffeted from side to side in the climb, but even reaching most of the way to the sky is better than managing it to the top of only a small hill.
Design the house in which you want to live.