Flip the Page

by Sandy Nelson on May 11, 2012

Architecture is a profession that requires its practitioners to blend artistic creativity, social insight and user interface sensitivity with careful, unbiased listening and technical proficiency. Routinely called upon to innovate on demand, aspiring architects soon learn that waiting for inspiration is a non-starter. To wait is to lose.

While most architects have inquiring minds, the best are driven by insatiable curiosity and an almost obsessive passion for reducing complexity to essence. By deconstructing complexity to arrive at that which is essential, previously unseen possibilities are revealed and can be translated into pragmatic solutions. Combining utility and financial feasibility into user-friendly juxtapositions of solids, spaces, light and systems, the work of leading architects routinely evokes positive emotional connection and spiritual upliftment. Believe me, this is no small accomplishment.

So, how do architects get there?

The simple answer will be no surprise. They practice doing what they do over and over, day after day, month after month, year after year, decade after decade. They have a systematic approach to innovation that they trust and stick with regardless of evolving circumstances, frequent change and distractions.

Like all committed professionals, architects know that innovation is as much or more discipline as it is art and inspiration. Nevertheless, even the most accomplished find themselves stuck and frustrated at different points along the way.

Having been there myself more times than imaginable, I learned a trick as a young architect that continues to serve me well today. When there seems to be no path forward, flip the page. Take what you are working on and turn it upside down. Rotate it, flip it, contort it in any way your imagination can envision.

Remarkably enough, the simple act of forcing yourself to see a challenge from a different perspective has remarkably positive impact. Nine times out of ten, new possibilities appear.

Is there something stuck in your life today? If so, flip the page.

Sandy Nelson

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