ARCHITECTURE FROM A TO Z
Campus Library, American University in Cairo, New Cairo, Egypt, by Anthony Poon (w/ HHPA, photo by Pfeiffer Partners)
Allow creative ideas to resonate in your head. Like wine aging in a bottle, the clamor of an idea seasoning in your cranium is called imagination.
Be original. Be remembered. If you do the same thing over and over again, you will always get the same results, of which, most have already been done, or might be boring and forgettable.
The medium of our art is not just pens and paper, paint and canvas, or software and megabytes. The medium of our art is life itself. Design your world.
There should be no divisions between architecture, graphics, landscape, fashion, poetry, music, photography, theater, and all artistic endeavors. In the act of creation, design industries must overlap and blur, operating as a comprehensive force of artistry. Our contribution to progress and civilization.
Promote society’s advancements, and acknowledge the legacy of traditions. Beware: nostalgia can be a yearning for a false past that either does not apply today, or never truly existed. “Nostalgia” is made up of two Greek roots: nostos “returning home,” and algos “pain.”
Focus. Listen. Don’t forget what you have heard.
Design communicates more than aesthetics. Design communicates ideas: everything from our culture and community, to the solutions for each client. We call this content.
HIGH TO LOW
Our work explores everything, from high art to pop art, from Schubert to So You Think You Can Dance.
Form is function, and function is form. Style is not superficial. Though a purist, don’t assume that style is only artificial. That trap is known as pretentious unpretentiousness. Understand style as the expression of character.
Design is about thinking strategically. As in chess, plan all your moves. Start by seeing a few moves ahead, then grasp for more. This is called experience.
All works of art are in progress. A good idea advances, evolves, and changes.
Good design balances imagination and reality. Architecture must balance greatness and fantasy, with things like schedule and budget.
Process and product: both fascinate. The end of the journey is as exciting as the journey itself. We design both the outcome and the process that leads to the outcome.
Do not subscribe to the cliché, “Work hard, play hard.” Work can also be play. We do not divide our lives into boring work and fun play.
Enjoy your life. Laugh out loud. Arthur Rubenstein suggested that one should not practice piano too much: Limit your practice time, enjoy your life, and you will have much to express when playing piano.
Don’t take yourself seriously, but take your work seriously.
As in jazz, when a mistake is made, exploit it as a delightful thing. In classical music, when a wrong note is played, it gets buried under a flurry of other notes. In jazz, when an unintentional note is hit, the musician bangs on that note a few more times to make sure the audience hears it.
Embrace improvisation and creating impromptu. Be prepared to make up things off the top of your head, from the tips of your fingers.
A fresh mind has the most creative potential. Don’t subscribe to the romanticized and fatalistic belief that sleepless nights bring about incredible imagination. And don’t believe that an artist needs to struggle, bleed, and die to be considered a genius.
Take a lunch break every day. Give your brain a rest. Even if the day is hectic, take that break—not just to have it, but to decree that you are still in control of your day.
If your work is boring you, do something different. If you are boring yourself, be someone else.
Try not to dress in all black. Don’t be a fashion cliché.
Read everything: not just design magazines and blogs. Read poetry. Read the classics. Read autobiographies, non-fiction, comic books, music. Even read horoscopes and advice columns.
Get used to senselessness and not knowing everything. The world is asking for too many answers. “One must imagine Sisyphus happy,” so said Albert Camus.
Like a young student, believe that you will save the world through your idealistic spirit. Hold tight your hopes, dreams, and ambitions.
Terms used to describe Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony: icon, masterpiece, seminal and absolute. The curse of The Ninth prevented superstitious composers from attempting to write a tenth symphony and surpass perfection. It goes so far as believing that the composer will die after writing his own Ninth. Gustav Mahler did. What would the world be if Beethoven had written a Tenth Symphony?