If It Doesn’t Get Built, It Doesn’t Count

It does not count if it does not get built. This quote has sparked quite the debate within the design industry. An architect said “In general, my work is not about a built project. It is about a vision of an unbuilt project. Or more specifically, my work is about visualizing a yet realized building. My work isn’t a physical thing that you can order from Amazon. My work is not a thing at all. It is a path to a thing.” While true in one platform, this is only part of the story. It *is* important to visualize the unrealized building, but every building that any designer has worked on fits this description. Getting the work built is what makes it real and not just an idealized version of a possibility.

What about a chef that does not cook? Could you imagine going out to dinner and having the waiter explain to you the vision for that night’s specialty and then the waiter brings out an empty plate because it was a concept that might lead to other actual realized specialties? As designers, we strive to create spaces that shape and impact the lives and experiences of the people who use and interact with them. 

I want to get things built, to get my ideas realized, to shape the lives of the people who use them. The process, the journey-whatever you want to call it- has value but the people who come to a designer are looking for a way to realize some vision that they have and they need the assistance of an architect to articulate it. Nobody really cares about the drawings created. Those are a means to an end, but it is that end that brings us to work. No one is ever passionate about actual pieces of paper, but rather what those pieces of paper represent. 

 

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