Be a successful architect! | Daily News


Be a successful architect!

Every architect and student will have their own subtle rituals, tools and procedures that they call upon to help bring out their best design work. While each architects and students methods of working are partly bespoke and individual to each person, there are a set of broader habits that we all share and use to lay the foundations for good and successful design projects:


Good schools of architecture teach young and aspiring architects at a very early stage in their learning about the importance of creating a concept to provide a narrative and give meaning to their project. This is the story that helps develop and push the project forward.A concept can be anything from a singular tree, an historical event, something the client wishes to retain or the restrictions set by the site.


Architecture seeks to solve problems and there are many ways to overcome them but only a few that solve them in a well and considered manner, and this becomes the difference between successful and unsuccessful design. Successful architects are meticulous individuals and because they know and appreciate how important the finer details are, they bring with them a delicate and considered approach to such problems.

Determination and perseverance

If we could describe architecture in one word, it would be perseverance, and successful architects have this by the bucket load. This is firstly required whilst studying to become an architect, as it is by no means an easy journey, and so you could say that all architects have this skill from the outset.

However it is the ones that carry it from project to project, year upon year, giving everything they have each time and not giving up until it’s done, that sets them apart from everyone else. Not giving up and/or settling for an average design solution to a problem, is key to procuring a successful project, sometimes you really have fight to achieve the best projects.


Good architects are very adept at removing the nonsense and clutter from the design process, as generally speaking the simpler the project is in both appearance and function, the more elegant and aesthetically pleasing it becomes.

Take for example a buildings external materials, a good rule of thumb is to have no more than three. Any more than this and the pallet becomes over complicated, and the justification for each one starts to become clouded and loses its meaning. Variation can be found however in each of the three materials texture and/or arrangement, to create subtle differences.

Unrestricted thinking

Good architects have the ability to look at ordinary items in a different manner, which enables them to rethink and reimagine new ways of reinventing everyday objects. For example doors and windows are a fundamental part of any design, and used without consideration. However by introducing a large full height door or window, the architect instantly breaks from the norm which in turn draws attention to its presence. The opening appears, functions and is used in a completely different manner simply due to its increased propositions and the more action required to engage with it, thus changing the experience of using it. Successful architects teach themselves to see in this manner.

Applying order

Good design must have order and hierarchy, as this enables the building to be read and used in the clear and coherent manner that it is intended to be. This is achieved by identifying what the import features and elements of the project are, and this is normally tied to at least one of three things, the site, client and/or budget.

Once the important element/s with the strongest pull have been evaluated and selected, the secondary features and then shaped accordingly around it. Order is best and most commonly demonstrated via the arrangement of form, materiality, and/or structure, and can (and should) be applied both externally and internally.

Use repetition

With ties to order, repetition plays a large role in successful architecture projects and helps to unify and reinforce the order of a buildings openings, materials and arrangements. An excellent example of this is in David Chipperfield’s work, where his architecture sits quietly with an approach that is both timeless and with rhyme. The discipline and order he injects into his buildings can be found in any one of this projects, however one of our favourites is his Literature Museum, where the attention to the order of the external columns injects sophistication and vernacular ties.

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