A Crafty Architecture Round up – #ArchiTalks



#ArchiTalks is a monthly blog series that is hosted by Architect Blogger Bob Borson. Every month Bob picks a topic or a theme and then a handful of practicing architects all over the world then write their own blog posts on the same topic. All blog posts are then posted at the same time and linked together.


This months topic for #ArchiTalks was Crafty.
Just one word.
Crafty, That's all Bob gave us and sent us off writing blog posts.

YoungArchitect.com Sucks

Michael Riscica dropped the ball, this time around. I never actually pieced together a coherent post about craftyness and how it applies to architecture.

I will not give you any excuses, because I hate excuses and there are none for missing this wonderful opportunity at participating in this Architect blogging event.


After reading all of these crafty blog posts, I have decided to craft a round up blog post providing a short summary about what each crafty blog post is about.

So without further adieu I present you Crafty by all the talented and brilliant bloggers in the #ArchiTalk blogger series.

Life of Arch

Architects are Crafty

On Life of an Architect, Bob Borson demonstrates how architects are crafty by relaying an anecdote about how he passed a kung fu class without actually learning any kung fu. He then applies this example of craftiness to being a successful architect. He does this by articulating how architects can channel their personalities into architecture projects. This includes “playing an active role in the decision-making process”, saying no to clients in a delicate manner, listening to clients, and appreciating clients in an informed way.

“The type of crafty that I think architects demonstrate day in and day out is a result of their ability to engage their clients into a process that requires a lot of trust based really on the strength of their personality.”


Arch of Internet

Master Your Craft – A Tale of Architecture and Beer

On Architect of the Internet, Jeff Echols lays out the importance of mastering your craft by comparing architecture and beer. He’s actually making an analogy between honing the craft of architecture and honing the craft of brewing beer, not drinking it.  He gives clearly defined bulleted lists of how this rings true, including doing what you love, paying attention to detail, and building a community.

“I think we all know why it’s important to master our craft. It’s what we’ll be known for. It’s where we draw our satisfaction from. Others see it in you. Your Ideal Client will notice.”



How to Craft an Effective Blog Post in 90 Minutes or Less

On Entrepreneur Architect, Mark R. LePage uses the topic at hand to give instructions on how to craft an effective blog post in 90 minutes or less. He begins his own post by articulating the importance of a good blog in the career of an architect. This most notably entails the notion that developing an audience can evolve into a community. He then details his 10 Steps for an Efficient Writing Work Flow.

“The blog is one of the most effective tools a small firm architect can use to foster community.”


MM Studio

Why I Love My Craft: Residential Architecture

On Studio MM, Marica McKeel waxes poetic about why she loves her craft, which she pinpoints residential architecture. She notes that one of her favorite parts of her craft is the construction process and illustrates this by relaying the story of her first job after design school. She then details her approach to being a residential architect.

“As an architect, I craft your home by carefully considering how you will use your space.”


THink Architect

Panel Craft

On Lee Calisti Architecture+Design, Lee Calisti immediately clarifies that he isn’t going delve into the connotation of the word crafty as cunning, deceitful, or sly. Instead, he focuses on the craft of architecture, specifically on the importance of the quality of instruments used and the execution of the project. He utilizes one of his own projects as example of how he goes about doing this.

“If I might venture a guess, I would say I’d rather design a good project that is crafted and executed well than design a great project and have it built and crafted poorly.”


Oh, You Crafty!

On L2Design, LLC, Lora Teagarden interprets this month’s topic as a reaction to the perhaps overly confident descriptions of craft projects on Pinterest Falls. She goes on to give examples of architecture she finds crafty. This spans from macro architecture, such as the Getty Center, to micro, such as Bloomberg’s competition in NYC to see which architect could most effectively design compact, affordable spaces.

“From this, I could talk about the things I make, or the things made by other architect friends, both well-under the scope of “crafty”, but I decided to focus on the bigger picture. The inspiration of the word embodied in the architecture I see. “Crafty” implemented in architecture from the macro to micro.”



Crafting A Twitter Sabbatical

On Indigo Architect, Tara Imani utilizes her post to discuss crafting a Twitter sabbatical. First she gives the background of her history on Twitter and talks about feeling burned out at that point. She then compares a Twitter account to a water park, saying that you can treat it as a lazy river or a ride on the rapids. After detailing what she tweets about, she announces that she is in fact taking a sabbatical from Twitter.

“There’s no in-between if you want to achieve lasting success or make your mark in Twitter history.”

Rick and Cindy

Merging Architecture and Craftiness 

On Merging Architects, Rick and Cindy Black compare architecture to the craft of quilting. They discuss how one particular phenomenon in crafting, upcycling, is influencing architecture. They also contemplate to what extent craftiness can influences and if architects can learn more from people who constantly work hand-on with their craft.

“Quilt making offers an intuitive glance at pattern that could loosen up any architectural design, typically restricted by parameters of all kinds.”


Field 9

On the Craft of Drafting: A Lament

On FIELD 9 Architecture, Matthew Stanfield laments the absence of the craft of drafting in contemporary architecture. He theorizes that this trend is occurring due to efficiency becoming more and more of a priority in the field. He also attributes it to ever-improving technology. While acknowledging that both efficiency and technology can be useful, he misses the craft of drafting and hopes it can be reincorporated into modern-day architecture.

“While there are still some who take pride in an well executed set of drawings, it seems to be going by the wayside to some extent.”



Crafty – In Architecture As A Craft

Meghana Joshi actually pontificates about how architects aren’t crafty, when meaning cunning, etc. She does mention that being crafty can be necessary when considering the political aspect of being an architect but clarifies that architects aren’t crafty by nature. She then elaborates on this concept by writing about the work of Joesph Eichler.

“Crafty for us is listening intently to the requirements, wants and needs and ideas, and other subtle hints the client drops.”


Rosa Sheng

Which Craft?

On Equity by Design, Rosa Sheng asks and answers her own question regarding how architects can reconnect to their roots as makers and communicators in the Information Age. She uses equity in architecture, knowledge sharing, and the evolution of 3D printing as examples of how to accomplish this.

“Craft” in the context of being an architect has new potential for innovation.”


Buildings are cool

Ghost Lab

On Buildings Are Cool, Stephen Ramos zeroes in on the craft of building. He uses his experience at the Ghost Lab to illustrate this. He begins by defining what a Ghost Lab is. (It was a design-build workshop btw.) He then talks in detail about the work of the architect who led the lab, Brian MacKay-Lyons.

“It is at the Ghost Lab that I was first turned on to the importance of detailing and quality building craft.”


emerging architect

Underhanded Evil Schemes

On The Emerging Architect, Brian Paletz also rejects the idea of architects as cunning and focuses on the creativity of architects. He talks about all of the juggling and compromising architects have to do to get a project done successfully. He elaborates on this by wondering how architects handle having to put creativity aside on occasion and utilizes his own photographs of architecture from downtown Fort Worth to illustrate his pontification.

“Architecture is a very creative field crammed into the corner with all sorts of rules, regulations, codes, analyses, and what not.  It’s not the architects that ignore all of these and try to create some homage to themselves that are who I consider successful, it’s the ones that can navigate the immense minefield of these hurdles and still produce an awesome project that I truly admire.”


proto architecture

On Proto-Architecture, Jonathan Brown discusses how he thinks that architecture schools could and should be generating less crafty (meaning cunning) young architects. He attributes his success as an architect to being mostly transparent, as opposed to crafty. As examples, he references how he loves it when his colleagues second-guess him because of the subsequent discourse that occurs. He also loves the process of sketching because it eliminates the possibility of craftiness.

“There is a craftiness in design.  There is a craftiness in working with contractors.  There is a craftiness in interpreting the code.  It’s easy to find reasons why you can’t do something, but much more difficult to find ways that you can.  I’ve found myself having to teach young professionals to simply second guess, to critically analyze and to really think about what they are designing. “



On intern[life], Eric Wittman shows how he’s literally utilized crafts in his work as an architect by comparing architecture to his practice of making origami. He goes on to talk about how materials that could have been tossed aside can be turned into something beautiful and uses the work of Ray and Charles Eames as an example. He also discusses how reusing materials can be effective in crafts and in architecture.

“the house of dance of feathers was a project i worked on after college.  we rebuilt a backyard museum in the lower ninth ward, which had been destroyed by hurricane katrina.  we had a tiny budget and had to scavenge for nearly every material we used. we gathered donations from companies, salvaged old parts and equipment and reused building scrapes. we saved and used everything. we were desperate, without the luxury of a budget. we had no choice but to be crafty.”












Michael Riscica

Michael Riscica is a Licensed Architect, Founder and Head Coach of the ARE Boot Camp Coaching Program & Online Study Group.

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