Dwelling on Three Words


Another post in the #Architalks blog post series. This month’s theme – MY THREE FAVORITE WORDS.


When the theme for this post was issued, there was a rush of three word phrases and three word combinations that came to mind. Let’s do lunch. Let’s get started. Let’s go sailing. Let’s go fishing. We’re almost there. We made it! Make it happen. This looks great! It’s all yours. Here’s the keys. I like that. Words are fun.

I love discussion. Discussions are little explorations where discoveries are made between those involved through the conversation at hand.


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I love the moment when a conversation gets past small talk. The introductions are over and the basics are covered. The moment when some genuine sharing happens and a true connection is made, developed and strengthened. Architecture happens through conversations; conversations between the client and the architect, the architect and the team, the architect and the contractor.

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In a past #Architalks post, the group wrote about Architectural Storytelling. There is a lot of value in telling our stories as architects and the stories of our journeys in the profession. When those stories lead to the initial meeting with a client, the time for story telling has changed to the time for story making. This is when I like to let the client begin to tell their story. This is where I have to listen real close to the client and begin to get to know them, their family, and their lifestyle. This is not always a straightforward exercise. Many times it takes active listening to help a client verbalize what they are trying to tell about their ideas, about a project.


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Architects bring the value of three-dimensional thinking to the table. With this perceptive skill, we have to listen for opportunities to use that thinking and visualize what the client is telling. We should also listen for what is NOT in the conversation. Sometimes the design problem lies deeper than a conversation and in non-verbal cues to pick up on issues a client has with bits and pieces of daily living in a space that can be opportunities for a design solution to take those issues and make them part of a seamless living experience through good design.

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Once the getting to know the client is well underway, the project starts and begins to take on its own life. There is still plenty of listening to do, in design review meetings and in guiding the client through the visualization of living in the project, moving through the space. We get through design, development and into detailing and construction documentation. This is where listening to contractors, vendors, and engineers comes into play. No one knows their game better than these teammates. I am listening to what the contractor is telling about building the design, on the site, IN the climate. I am listening to the vendors about installing their products. I am listening to the engineers about how the project comes together with their systems and structures.


I'm Listening 03We all would like to show up and have a client just let us lose with all the creative license to express our inner designs and build our hearts out. Realistically, we need to show up ready to listen and be the well-tuned design instrument that the client needs in order to achieve the optimal solution to their design problem.


All images are from a somewhat unrelated blog about acoustic location or ‘eardar’ devices of WW1 and WW2.



Take a look at these posts from all the architects participating in #Architalks … in no particular order:

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Bob Borson – Life of An Architect – @bobborson

3 Words: Are. Blogs. Important


Enoch Sears – Business of Architecture – @businessofarch

3 Words To Get Started


Lee Calisti, AIA – Think Architect – @LeeCalisti

i make art


Lora Teagarden – L² Design, LLC – @L2DesignLLC

#ArchiTalks: I love it!


Andrew Hawkins, AIA – Hawkins Architecture, Inc. – @hawkinsarch

Three Favorite Architectural Words


Cindy Black – Rick & Cindy Black Architects ‎

Spirit of Optimism (my three favorite words)


Michele Grace Hottel – Michele Grace Hottel, Architect – @mghottel

architalk#9: my three favorite words


Meghana Joshi – IRA Consultants, LLC – @MeghanaIRA

My Three Favorite Words


Michael Riscica – Young Architect – @YoungArchitxPDX

How’s it going… Finishing The Architect Exam?!??


Stephen Ramos – BUILDINGS ARE COOL – @sramos_BAC

My Three Favorite Words


Eric Wittman – intern[life] – @rico_w

my three favorite [hardest] words


Jeff Echols – Architect Of The Internet – @Jeff_Echols

What’s Your Story – My Three (or Four) Favorite Words


Matthew Stanfield – FiELD9: architecture – @FiELD9arch

3 Words


Brian Paletz – The Emerging Architect – @bpaletz

I am in


Jonathan Brown – Proto-Architecture – @mondo_tiki_man

The Big Idea


Jeremiah Russell, AIA – ROGUE Architecture – @rogue_architect

three little words: #architalks