By Nadja Sayej
What can we learn from architects, who seem to take sketches of squares and turn them into skyscrapers? André Tavares, the curator of the Lisbon Architecture Triennial which opens October 5, offers some insight. Tavares is an architect, curator, book author and editor of the Dafne architecture journal. Here, he sheds some light on what goes on inside the mind of the architect—specifically how architects help transform our cities and how we can slow down to create better ideas. Here are five tips according to Tavares on how creative leaders can learn from architects, be it building a business or a brand.
1. Ask better questions.
The only way to get to better answers is to simply ask better questions, both to yourself and your colleagues. “Architecture is not about the creation of newness but rather about the fulfillment of needs and expectations,” Tavares said. “Architects are problem solvers. The better the question they ask, the better the answer can be. Everyone has to ask better questions.”
2. Think before you build
Building ideas, building a brand and building a business can be similar to building an actual building. But just as the construction process can be lengthy, so can the planning time that leads to actually breaking soil. “From its inception to completion and use, every construction requires a tremendous amount of physical and intellectual energy to be conceived and executed,” he said. “If we are not clever and conscious about the way in which such energy is used, the results can be proportionally devastating. That is why, instead of increasing the pace of doing, one should invest more and more in design and conception, making the best use of existing knowledge. It seems to be the only way to spare the scarce resources of our planet.”
3. Balance short-term with long-term.
Not every idea or project should be long-term, neither should they be short-term, and for a good reason. “Often, the process is way more important than the final result, but the final result is what remains,” Tavares said. “One must take the best advantage of construction and its capacity to drive change in the short-term, but we should not forget that buildings can last for a long time.”
4. Architecture is a type of knowledge.
Not every architect designs the obvious, their design thinking and knowledge can be applied everywhere. “Even when not designing, the knowledge of architecture can be used in even the most different situations,” he said. “There are always architectural terms to address reality, from technical and objective matters to large scale social and territorial problems, from construction to urbanism, from psychology to economy. The broad nature of architectural knowledge is a precious asset that should not be destroyed by the current trend in overspecialization.”
5. Building is an act of violence; beauty is the way to make it worthy.
Architecture can be a huge challenge and a lot of complications come along with it. Putting up a new building can disturb locals, destroy neighborhoods and create gentrification. A new creative leader in a field can also create disruption. “To build is so violent that one has to make it beautiful, both in its process as in its form,” Tavares said.