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The art of the possible

Architect Sheena Sharp, of Coolearth Architecture, tweeted something interesting out today:

Improving this would be good. And it is the same gripe that I had with architecture school when I was there. Why is it taboo to talk about money and the market? Why must design exist, in many instances, within a vacuum?

I can appreciate the value in not always constraining yourself with the status quo. To innovate, you have to stretch. And sometimes, or perhaps oftentimes, the best ideas initially seem dumb. It’s important to have room to experiment and tinker.

But eventually, reality does matter. Plans that look good on paper, may not be suitable for the market. Constraints are a big part of what makes the city building industry so rewarding. Planning is hard. Building is hard. Getting consensus is hard. It’s all incredibly difficult and you have to be creative.

The really elegant solutions usually need to weave across and through many different objectives and stakeholders. And so in my view, the more you can empathize with those other constraints, the more elegant your solution will be. Knowing more is good.

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