Architecture is a dialogue

by Jody Brown on March 3, 2012


If I asked you to describe what architecture is. What would you say?

Would you launch into a diatribe about space and function and economy? Would you mention light? Texture, materials? Construction? Commodity? Emotion? Is architecture about creativity? Is it about individual expression? Is it about design? Passion? Is it an art?


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Why I Blog

by Jody Brown on February 2, 2012


No seriously.. why am I doing this?

So, I’ve been giving it a lot of thought lately. It might be because I’m stressing out about what I’m going to say in my presentation at the AIA conference this year. But, more than likely it’s just a first of the year “hey, lets re-evaluate my entire life” kind of thing. Let’s just say that January is not my favorite month of the year. It’s like 31 days of cold….hard….truth.


very cold.

and hard.

in that order.

So, why should I (or any Architect for that matter) be blogging?

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Important places

by Jody Brown on January 19, 2012


Important places

In 1969, when my father was at war overseas, my mother and I were on the front porch of our 1910 Bungalow in Kansas. The wind pushed my toys over the edge and into the grass. My mother was leaning on the railing, talking quietly to our neighbor. I crawled across the painted wood and reached through the rail and felt the soft tops of the wheat-colored grass.

In 1970, I walked into a dark bedroom and stood at the foot of my Grandfather’s bed. I reached through the rail to touch the top of the quilt my Great Grandmother had made. I watched the quilt rise and fall with his breathing.

In 1971, I placed my hands and feet on opposite sides of the door casing in my Grandmother’s house. As soon as the “grown-ups” were paying attention, I climbed to the top of the frame and reached up to touch the ceiling.

In 1977, I lay down on the orange shag carpet just outside my bedroom door. I placed my face on the floor grate, and turned to the side until I could see the edge of the television my parents were watching downstairs.

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The Craft of Architecture

by Jody Brown on November 1, 2011

It didn’t start out this way for me.

When I was younger, I had an idea of what “Architecture” is – Architecture with a capital A. I held that idea in front of me throughout my career to serve as a guide, as I worked on my craft. To me, Great Architects were those that refined their concepts and details and forms with each new project. Occasionally, jumping forward with an innovation, but, usually building a career one client at a time, one building at a time. In school I spent hours in the library flipping through a 25 volume photographic archive of everything left in Le Corbusier’s flat files after he passed away. The volumes contained: every sketch, every construction detail, and every project. His whole life was there in light awkward drawings in pencil on translucent paper; all his failures, his incomplete thoughts, his grand gestures, his moments of pure clarity. I was amazed at the craft developed throughout a career; the gentle arc of a man’s life.

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10 reasons Architects probably won’t fix it

by Jody Brown on September 25, 2011

10 reasons Architects probably won’t fix it

1. Architects are not leaders

In fact, we wait to follow. Architecture is a service profession. Clients hire us to help implement their vision, if we’re lucky. Or, they hire us because of a legal obligation to have a licensed professional seal a set of drawings, when we aren’t lucky. We don’t define the needs of the community; in fact, we usually don’t even recognize them on our own. We need a patron to guide us. Until then, we wait, for instructions.

2. Architects are not relevant

We are losing (or have already lost) our position in the public conscience. Don’t believe me? Just ask a stranger what an Architect does. They’ll have no idea, or worse, they’ll think Architecture is for someone else; someone with more disposable income; someone with more elite taste; someone more urbane; someone with different priorities; someone else; but not them. We have systematically put ourselves and our profession into the margins of society.

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10 Reasons Architecture can fix it

by Jody Brown on September 19, 2011



1. Architects broke it

It’s probably our fault to begin with. I don’t really know the exact numbers, but buildings use more fossil fuels than cars, construction debris makes up the highest percentage of our landfills, building roofs and parking lots account for the majority of storm water run-out issues, and Market driven greed for greater and greater return on investment fueled a decade of speculative office and housing developments at a scale never seen before. And, now entire communities sit vacant and waiting for a recovery that may never happen. Can Architects be trusted to come up with solutions for problems we played a major role in causing in the first place?

2. Architects solve

Architects are some of the only professionals that are educated and trained to find, explore, consider, analysis, and obsess over solutions for complex problems. These are skills that can be applied to create opportunities for community enrichment, or simply arrange toilet partitions. The trick is setting your priorities.

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