Do you ever wonder how Design Magic happens?
This is the November edition of #Architalks: the archi-blog phenomenom started by Bob Borson of Life of an Architect. Every month a motley crew of archi-bloggers gather to write about the same topic. This month’s topic was ‘Eureka,’ suggested by yours truly Steve Ramos of BuildingsAreCool.
I picked Eureka because I am always searching for that Eureka Moment and I was interested in seeing what my fellow bloggers had to say about the topic.
What is the Eureka Moment?
The Eureka Moment comes from the famous myth of the Greek Scholar Archimedes. Archimedes was given a job by the king to determine if the king’s golden crown was in fact 100% gold or a composite of other inferior metals. The Eureka Moment occurred when Archimedes was taking a bath. As he lowered himself into the bathtub, he noticed that water was spilling out. This triggered the realization that Archimedes could measure the volume of the golden crown by the amount of water it displaced. He could then compare the volume of the crown to a chunk of gold of equal weight and determine if the crown was 100% gold.
It was at this moment that Archimedes leaped out of the bathtub and ran naked through the streets of Syracuse screaming, “Eureka, Eureka,” which in Greek means “I have found it.”
An Architect’s Eureka Moment
I like to think of the Design Process as a series of Eureka Moments. The process of design discovery is what keeps me continually interested in Architecture. It does not happen often but when those eureka moment’s occur it is powerful. It is similar to a golfer who can play a horrible round of golf, but only needs one magical shot (out of 100) to keep them coming back for more.
How to Create Eureka Moments with Design
Every design problem is different, however I believe that to be a successful designer you need to have these 4 basic ingredients:
“Whenever you think you can, or you think you can’t--you’re right.” – Henry Ford
Step 1 is optimism. You have to believe that there is a solution to your design problem. You have to believe that there is a better way to do something. And you have to believe that you will push through the sticking points. Optimism is imperative to success at design.
“Good artists borrow, great artists steal.” – Pablo Picasso
Maybe you are a genius, but I am not. Learning from what has already been done is one of the basic lessons in design. In architecture school we learned to study the design precedents of the great architects. This same practice occurs in the real world. A good designer is always looking for inspiration.
“It is not your qualifications but your exposure in life that makes you who you are.” – Jaggi Vasudev
To gain inspiration, you must be exposed to inspirational things. This requires you to get out and see the world. Read a book, take a trip, look at the internet, meditate…..do something! The answers are all out there! A good designer puts themselves in situations where they will gain exposure.
“Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work.” – Chuck Close
But wait.....what about what Picasso said? Picasso and Chuck Close are both exceptional artists and they are both right. Great art takes inspiration and hard work and architect is no different.
Design is HARD. Big time! You will get stuck and some times hit a wall. But because you have optimism, inspiration and exposure those walls will become hurdles that you will eventually clear. A good designer understands that design is a process and will have the stamina to finish the race.
In my next blog post I will share a cool design that illustrates how optimism, inspiration, exposure and stamina lead our design team to some fantastic Eureka Moments. For now, please check out the Eureka Posts of my blogging buddies from #Architalks:
Lora Teagarden - L² Design, LLC (@L2DesignLLC)
Eureka!? Finding myself amid the "busy."
Jeremiah Russell, AIA - ROGUE Architecture (@rogue_architect)
Gee, golly, gosh EUREKA: #architalks
Eric T. Faulkner - Rock Talk (@wishingrockhome)
Eureka! -- Things That Suck
Michele Grace Hottel - Michele Grace Hottel, Architect (@mghottel)
Jeffrey Pelletier - Board & Vellum (@boardandvellum)
Finding That "Eureka!" Moment in the Design Process
Keith Palma - Architect's Trace (@cogitatedesign)
Naked in the Street
Mark Stephens - Mark Stephens Architects (@architectmark)
Eureka moments and what do if clients don't appreciate them
Larry Lucas - Lucas Sustainable, PLLC (@LarryLucasArch)
Eureka for George in Seinfeld Episode 181