Thoughts on the World

Architects Anonymous

I'm Andrew, and... and I'm an architect.

Just admitting it helps, knowing there's a name for it, that I'm not alone, that other people have this same craving for a really strong design.

You can't explain to someone else how it is. The buzz, the excitement of a really good hit, when you see a really good structure. You know it will make you strong, able to cope with the load, able to change.

I mean, some mornings you wake up, you’ve been tossing and turning all night with the ideas burning into your brain, and your head is almost exploding with it. You know that you've just got to do some, that you won't be able to do anything else until you've done some architecture. You’ve just got to get the architectural ideas out of your head and onto paper.

Do you remember your first time? The first time you took a design, and it hit you like a bullet - you felt it was so elegant, so beautiful, so powerful, that you just had to have it. The people around you had a different reaction. They could take design or leave it, they just didn’t have the same need as you.

You try to cover up what you’re doing by using other words for it. Words like “design” or “structure”, but it’s all the same.

You get to the stage where you’ll do anything to score. You meet someone and the most important thing is whether they can satisfy your need for architecture. And they never understand that for you architecture isn’t optional. So you hang around with other architects, sharing ideas.

And then when you get a really great idea, it just, like, takes your brain over. You just sit there, thinking about nothing else. You lose all track of time, you don’t notice what’s going on around you. And even when it’s good, you know it could be better, it’s never as good as the first time.

My suppliers don't help. They just give you bad stuff, stuff where you can taste the poor quality. And they tell you that if you spend, spend a bit more next time it will be better, but it never is. They tell you that their new stuff has much better architecture than the old, and you want to believe them, want to find what they’re asking you for. All they want is to get you hooked, get you to believe you can only get what you want from them.

The worst thing is that the guys at the top of the tree, the 'architecture barons', are producing stuff so good, so pure, but by the time it gets to you it’s weak, corrupted, contaminated, watered down.

I know the people around me are trying to help, giving me designs with no hint of architecture, but they just make it worse. Once you've tasted real architecture everything else just feels inadequate, empty.

But I'm going to be strong. I haven't seen any good architecture for six weeks now, and maybe I'm starting to live with it, a day at a time.



Please take this little piece as it's meant, tongue firmly in cheek. It was inspired by a workshop at the IRM/Meta group Enterprise Architecture Conference 2004, which started as a round of introductions and turned into group therapy! I offer my warmest support to me fellow architects, and also to anyone else touched by more problematical addictions.