there are two types of people who get tattoos; those who request lower back butterflies or barbed wire biceps and those who seek out a specific tattoo artist and want to showcase that artists artwork on their body permanently.
architecture clients are no different. if you're thinking of hiring an architect....be the later.
in my mind, tattoo artists and architects are so similar it's scary. both work with ink, both are creative, both deal with life long decisions and both deal with having someone else's artistic taste represent you.
now i don't have any tattoos, but i have several good friends who do and i've listened to them tell me how they've seeked out tattoo artists for their specific style. many of them having different tattoos from different artists. the process was similar, they would meet with the artist, tell them what they were thinking, tell them where they would like the ink, establish a budget, then after a few drawings and discussions, would let artist go to work, excited to have a piece from that artist showcased on their body. thinking about this architecturally, i couldn't help but fantasize about how this would make for the perfect architecture client. a person who seeks you out because of your "style", comes in to discuss their project, points out the location, establishes a budget, let's you know a little about themselves and then lets you go to work.
however, you don't often get those types of clients. there are the clients that tell you exactly what they want, want it fast and with no budget. i can only imagine i feel the same way about these projects that a tattoo artists feels about someone coming in wanting a little heart on their ankle or a loony toons character. now, i'm in no way saying those are awful choices in tattoos, merely that if you're hiring an artist, or maybe an architect, deep down their passion is to create something truly unique to you...and with that requires a little bit of trust. just like the tattoo artist an architect wants to do the best job he can for you. that's not to say you shouldn't lay some boundaries down, actually in most cases that makes for a better project, but keep in mind they are an artist, their job is to dream and create and after all, isn't that what you're hiring them to do?
in some ways i think architects should be more like tattoo artists. can you imagine how cool it would be to walk into an architectures firm with the walls covered in little framed sketches of buildings, looking into the back and seeing an architect with a bald head, handlebar moustache and neck tattoo is sketching up a drawing for a client? sounds pretty bad ass to me!
maybe if architects also had the letters "P A Y N O W" tattooed across their knuckles, there would be fewer billing questions.
all this being said, my advice to clients... think about architecture like you would about getting a tattoo. trust in the artists to do something uniquely you, not the ordinary.
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