One of my favourite architecture websites is ArchDaily, it’s great for the latest news and contains thousands, of projects. I love Dezeen and Designboom, and the locality of ArchitectureAU. However, despite my affection for these publications, there’s something I’ve noticed, and that is a lack of story in their articles. I want to change that.
This is the point of the article where I introduce myself as the person who manages ArchitectureVictoria on Instagram, which extended to a website back in April. If you visit ArchitectureVictoria.com you will see a bunch of projects, all devoid of story. This isn’t my intentions or goals for the publication, in fact I don’t want to be like ArchDaily, Deezen or even ArchitectureAU. I want to stand to the side.
As Mahatma Gandhi famously didn’t exactly say but has been attributed to saying it, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” If I want publications to focus more on the story, then I can’t sit around waiting for them, rather I’ll be the change.
What am I trying to say?
In short, I want to tell stories on ArchitectureVictoria. As architects you are great storytellers, however vast majority of the articles once published seem to just focus on the description of the building. I know there is much more to your building than “the raking roof that allows more natural light into the space” and I want to bring the story out from under this raking roof. Let me tell you what I’m thinking in terms of your story, but first let me gush about a TV show first.
Although I am a couple seasons behind, I love Grand Designs. Yes, I get worried each time the clients decide to project manage themselves, because it just never works out, and I feel bad whenever they miss their opportunity to reach lock-up stage before the harsh winters. What I love about Grand Designs is they bring you along on their journey, and even though you are watching through a screen you do begin to form some sort of a connection with the clients, tradies, architects and Mr Maddison. It’s a really great form of storytelling that draws you in and captures your attention for the 40 minutes or so.
How I want to tell your story
No more beating around the bush, I have this idea of how I want to tell your project’s story. I want to tell your project’s story from the very beginning, I want to tell it from the moment you clicked ‘open’ on the email from the client. How did you begin the process? What were your thoughts stepping out on site for the first time? I want to hear these little stories from the design process all the way through to handover. Although with all due-respect, I don’t want to just hear from you. We rarely hear stories in architecture publication from the two other main stakeholders of the project, the client/s and the builder/tradies. I want to hear stories from the client about why they chose to reach out to you, what they were thinking on the day of pouring the slab and their feeling of seeing the final fitting be installed. I want to hear from the builder about how they overcame a detail problem, how they solved the issue of the waste and how Chris, the tiler’s apprentice, was stoked about his efforts on tiling a bathroom for the first time.
I know each project is made up of these little stories from you as the architect, the clients and the builders and tradies. What I want to do is take these little stories and turn them into the full story about your project, to go beyond just describing the building.
I need your help
I’m looking for architects who may have projects to test this type of storytelling. It doesn’t matter if you completed the project a couple years ago, just recently, it’s still under-construction or you’ve just start the sketch design phase. I’m looking for projects where you can connect me with the clients and builders, so I can have a chat with them and hear their stories, hear your stories and then write the story.
Why though? This seems much more involved than simply writing an architects statement, what’s the benefit for you? You get to see your project in a whole new light, you get to see someone take as much care and detail as you when you were designing it. Now I’ll admit this is a little unfounded at the moment, but I believe that this type of storytelling will resonate with the general public and connect with them on a more personal level, and this can only be good things for the profession.
If you believe you have a project that is suited, ie clients and builders who would be open for a chat, and you want to try this different type of storytelling, get in contact with ArchiTeam.