This post is part 4 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.
4. Use your hands
The computer is an amazing tool that has opened up brave new worlds for the architect to explore. But these worlds are artificial, separated from the human body by a membrane of screens and keys and mice that translate between the real and the virtual reasonably well, but far from flawlessly. Your hands have no such membrane. In fact, the flow of ideas from mind to hand and back again, on a continuous feedback loop, reinforces your ideas like sound waves on sympathetic frequencies.
Sketch, draft, shape concepts, draw details. Use ink, graphite, marker pens, watercolour. Craft with cardboard, balsa wood, clay, polystyrene. Visit factories, warehouses, workshops and above all, building sites. Architecture exists in the physical world, you cannot avoid it.
Use your hands.