Work Extreme Party Extreme

Some time ago I have been participating at the podium discussion during which a very smart moderator asked me which advice at the end I would give to the students and young professionals. Unexpected question and in a tip-of-the-tongue situation I couldn’t think of a better answer then to quote legendary Steve Jobs: “stay foolish, stay hungry”. That was not very creative so I decided to invest some time in aftermath of this question. Well, after last 15 years of university teaching, workshop leading, lecturing, etc. I provided a lot of advices to my students, which I think are really helpful considering architectural design principles. Here is compiled a brief list which I will definitely expand and correct in the future.

List of advices:

  1. Work extreme, party extreme
  2. There is instant coffee, but there is no instant complexity
  3. Form follows feedback
  4. Form follows whatever
  5. Reduce obvious, add meaningful
  6. Think logically. Avoid arbitrary decisions
  7. Develop design desire for every aspect of your work
  8. Use holistic approach, not every detail is important
  9. Never use “undo” button, everything you do is all right.
  10. You can not fail if you work hard
  11. Copy and try to understand the work of good designers
  12. Be systematic and always map out your steps in advance
  13. Learn strategic thinking from good chess players
  14. Use tools and media which are inspiring to you
  15. You can get inspiration from everything
  16. Do not neglect unexpected
  17. You cannot know everything in advance
  18. Critical thinking is important, doubtful less
  19. Build your argument based on references
  20. Discussing your work is nothing personal
  21. Your work is not your baby, it is IT (an object)
  22. Learn from positive as from negative critics
  23. Critical mass for the project cannot be reached, only increased
  24. You need to be in full control of your tools and not vice versa
  25. For the future remember how you have solved the problem in the past
  26. Read tutorials and manuals
  27. Ignore opinions, respect arguments
  28. You cannot think a project from the end, but you can develop it
  29. Tabula Rasa is not supporting the creativity, the constraints do
  30. Understand the performance of things, not their aesthetics or functionality
  31. Unrelated work is not relevant
  32. Design process never ends

An allegory to the architectural production and copy+paste culture:

Architect’s new design departure point can be compared to a musician who is starting a new composition by covering a famous song. After repeating it several times one is noticeable comfortable with technique and structure of the song, so it can be focused more on other aspects rather then playing it note by note. By playing it over and over again, new possible interpretation are emerging, so eventually one starts adding and remixing the parts. Slowly the original song is dissolving into something new and one ends up with a new song. Therefore, a musician is turning to a composer. No matter how new song (design) ends up being, the artist is ensured that the origin is of high quality, and most likely the final product will be too.

Architecture in game-theory context:

Architectural design is a collaborative game which can be game-wise compared to the mixture of chess and basketball. So good architects know to play both.

Ivan Redi Teaching


A great article and even greater advice from our collaborator Ortlos and Ivan Redi @

posted by Ecoist / 12.20.12 - 7:02 am

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