Central Justice Center, Santa Ana, CA by Richard Neutra. Photo by Ben Kasdan, AIA.

Architecture Design Business is Personal

Designers are sensitive creatures. They must be continually inspired, creative, and flexible. It takes significant effort to ensure that the well-being of architectural designers is adequately maintained so that they are consistently able to execute the myriad of different design decisions that they will be faced with every day.

Designers' work must always be innovative and effective and their creative process is unique, individual, and deeply personal. Once they have arrived upon a set of design solutions, those designs will be subject to intense scrutiny from colleagues, supervisors, clients, equity partners, consultants, city planning staff, design review committees, neighbors, planning commissioners, city council members, bloggers, reporters, snarky anonymous internet commenters, and others.

To survive that intense level of scrutiny for nearly everything a designer creates takes a thick skin. But in turn, in order for designers to thrive, they need a safe place in which they are protected from overly harsh criticism as they work through their internal design process prior to subjecting their work to external distribution and review.


That thick skin for me is a bit of an act.

It hurts when outsiders make rash judgments about design concepts that I have created without regard for most of the constraints from which that design was derived. However, I am never intimidated by the prospect of creating another alternative solution which is often the product of such criticism.

So yes, I am often disappointed by the continual stream of rejections, but I am optimistic about the opportunity to create yet another solution.


Perhaps “business is not personal” in other industries, but it is just not the case in architecture — and architectural design, in particular. The design process is highly personal, so how could the business of architectural design not also be highly personal?

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