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Bridging Dreams: The Human Side of Architecture

This article is a precis of a recent talk delivered by Bec at the Designscape Conference, Brisbane 2024.

In the wild world of architecture, the tango between architects and clients is like riding a rollercoaster – full of highs, lows, and occasional loop-de-loops. We get it; it’s a topic usually whispered about among designers, with memes galore capturing the struggle of wrangling creative visions that clients may not fully vibe with.  

Now, we’ve all heard the classic designer gripe about clients – the woes of tight budgets, last-minute design changes, and the occasional disappearing act. But what if we told you, dear potential client, that there’s more to the story? Enter Maytree Studios, we’re here to spill the beans on the architect-client relationship and maybe share a chuckle or two along the way. 

The Human Connection: Where the Magic Happens

Alright, let’s dive in. We’re big believers that in the grand scheme of architecture, the human connection is the secret sauce – and trust us, it’s not covered in any design textbooks. At Maytree Studios, we’ve learned that understanding and navigating the human side of the job can turn a potentially rocky ride into a joyous journey.  

We’re Humans First, Architects Second 

Here’s our motto: “humans first, architects second.” It’s not just a catchy phrase; it’s how we roll. We’ve got this whole well-being, work-life balance, and healthy boundaries thing down to an art form. Why? Because happy architects make for happy designs – and who doesn’t want their dream project to come with good vibes? 

When it comes to conversations, we live by the mantra of “Listen to Hear.” We’ve found that admitting mistakes and finding ways to communicate with empathy can turn those potentially awkward moments into moments of understanding. It’s like therapy, but for house plans. 

Brushing Up on Relationship Skills 

Communication is key, right? That’s why we bring in external consultants twice a year to school us on all things relationships, resilience, and teamwork. Think of it as a crash course in architect-client couples therapy. The result? Happy architects, low staff turnover, and clients who not only love the result, but the process of getting there.

At Maytree Studios, we’ve learned that understanding and navigating the human side of the job can turn a potentially rocky ride into a joyous journey.  

Personal Growth and Its Impact on Client Connections

Now, let’s talk about us – not just as architects but as evolving humans navigating the maze of personal growth. There are three areas that we think that make a world of difference: perspective and humility, filtering work based on people, and setting clear expectations.

Ego: The Sneaky Trouble-Maker 

Sharing a personal journey of self-discovery in a psychologist’s chair, Bec often reflects on the role of ego in communication. We think ego and imposter syndrome are two sides of the same coin. By owning your strengths and your humility, we have the ability to move from a defensive position to an open and accepting one. Fast forward to today, and we’re all about humility and breathing through defensive moments. A little self-reflection goes a long way, especially when we’re saying, “Sorry, we misunderstood” or “Let’s chat about where we’re on different pages.” 

Our practical tip? A piece of paper with “Listen to Hear” written on it. We stick it in front of us during those potentially awkward conversations, and suddenly, it’s a conversation, not a battle. 

We think ego and imposter syndrome are two sides of the same coin. By owning your strengths and your humility, we have the ability to move from a defensive position to an open and accepting one.

Filtering Based on People, Not Just Projects 

Meet Jane (name changed for dramatic effect). She taught us that filtering clients isn’t just about how cool a project might be; it’s about people. We’ve got this nifty triangle –when we engage with new clients, we are looking for shared values, laughter, and respect for time and fees. If we can see ourselves grabbing a beer with you, sharing a laugh, and agreeing on the serious stuff, then it’s a match made in design heaven. 

Our tip? This works in two directions. You know what we’re looking for.  Now sit down and figure out the three most important things you’re looking for in your architect – at least two of these should be met!  

If we can see ourselves grabbing a beer with you, sharing a laugh, and agreeing on the serious stuff, then it’s a match made in design heaven. 

 

Clear Expectations, No Crystal Balls 

Ever had a project go haywire because expectations were as clear as mud? Us too. We’ve been there, done that, and learned a thing or two. Setting expectations is critical to seeing a successful project built. We see it as our responsibility to provide you with the framework that guides you through your decision making. It’s your project, but delivered through our process – and we’re really passionate about making that clear and overwhelm free. 

Our top tip? Monthly updates tethered to invoicing. We spill the tea on what we’ve done, what’s coming up, and, well, everything in between. It’s like getting a progress report on your favourite project – and who doesn’t love good news? 

It’s your project, but delivered through our process – and we’re really passionate about making that clear and overwhelm free. 

Elevating Your Architect-Client Experience

So, dear client, consider this your invitation to see Maytree Studios with fresh eyes. We’re not just about house plans; we’re about connections, laughter, and maybe a few awkward moments turned into great stories. 

In a world that sometimes takes itself too seriously, we’re here to remind you that the enemy of good design is never the clients – it’s a lack of a genuine connection. So, the next time you dream up a new project, think of us as your design partners in crime. It’s not just about the sketches; it’s about the laughs, the understanding, and the joy we’ll create together. Let’s turn those dreams into architectural magic – with a side of humor, of course. 

 

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Herston QLD 4006

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