Great architects aren’t created overnight. Becoming an architect takes dedication, hard work and commitment to the art. More than that, however, a great architect must have innate qualities that allow him or her to think and work in ways that rise above the rest. These qualities can’t be taught, they are inherent in the personality and psyche of the person. These five qualities distinguish good architects from great architects, and may be found in the leaders in the industry.
Architects are natural problem solvers. It’s a common problem that clients come to architects with ideas that are beautiful and inspired, and also impossible or illogical. The architect’s job, as a creator and an artist, is to take those ideas and turn them into reality. Great architects attack problems with cleverness and persistence, and dogged desire to do the impossible. They work and re-work problems until they can design the building or home envisioned by the client.
A great architect must communicate well with clients and contractors alike. Many clients come to their chosen architect with a fuzzy or semi-formed idea of what he or she wants, only to then have a hard time putting these desires into words. The role of the architect is to draw out those ideas and put them into words, terms and blueprints that everyone can agree upon.
Great architects lead productive conversations that capture the subtleties of a client’s vision, pinning down their whims and desires. They must then take these ideas and communicate them to contractors. They are great talkers, great listeners, and above all else, great collaborators. Great architects serve as a bridge between client and contractor, bringing both sides together to the satisfaction of everyone involved.
Frank Lloyd Wright said, “Every great architect is–necessarily–a great poet.” Of course, what Wright meant is that every great architect is an artist, and is connected with his or her inner muse. A successful architect is a creative thinker, with a love of beauty and inspired design. A great architect is also a talented draftsman, possessing the ability to visualize beautiful buildings and then make those buildings functional. This artistic quality is a critical part of achieving success as an architect. Without the ability to draw, to create, to render exactly what he or she imagines, the architect will fail.
Great architects are precise. Very, very precise. They love math and accuracy. They love to check and double check. Great architects make sense of the world with a pen and paper and a deep understanding of geometric principles. It is this technical mindedness that allows architects to make buildings that stand the test of time, that withstand years of harsh weather and consistent use.
Becoming an architect at all can be difficult, and becoming a great architect requires passion. Architects must go to many years of school, taking classes in art, humanities, math and physics. Architects must excel in these subjects and synthesize the information learned, bringing together all their knowledge and expertise. Without a deep interest in these subjects, an architect cannot excel.
These five noble qualities aren’t easy to find in combination, which means that great architects aren’t a dime a dozen. They’re a rare breed. Finding such an architect takes hard work and research, but once you’ve found the right person for the job, you’ll know it by the way he or she takes a genuine interest in your thoughts and ideas. Together, you and your architect may create beautiful, freestanding structures that add value to the landscape.