matejg

Decisions, decisions…

- by Matej Gašperič

Although, building a house is not exactly a rocket science, it is definitely not a walk to the park either.

The whole process takes decisions to be made.
And there are many. At a time it seems it is just an endless stream of them.
And they vary. A lot.

J2-staircase2
A client studying a detailed model of a part of the house that features vertical as well as horizontal commuting paths.

There are big ones on which projects succeeds or fails. And there are small, but definitely not less important, ones.

There are technology based and materials based and people based and…

And although one hires the specialists like an architect, engineers, project manager, contractors and other service providers…, to take care of things, one is not familiar with, not all – in fact not even close to all – decisions could not be all delegated.

Through my practice I met all kinds of clients. And as we are all different, the ways we cope with the decision making process varies as well.

Functionalists

Ah, functionalists. The sweet and charming people. So self-confident. They are always right. Inclined toward aesthetics, they are conscious and enlightened enough that they decided to hire an architect to take care of things and get their new home above average. But at a first sign of trouble, they are ready to abandon that very same aesthetics principles and willing to accept even something ugly as hell, arguing that ultimately, the function is the most important of all.
I do not blame them. It is not their field of expertise. It is architects’. And we should be aware that exactly that are the situations, why we well called upon in the first place. It is not them. It is us. It rests on us, not to accept a solution, that is not good enough. Even if the client is ready to content, it is us (architects) who have the responsibility, to say no. To take a time to understand the problem at its roots, get back behind the drawing board, put some thought and effort into it and ultimately come up with something better. To come up with a solution, that is not the compromise in terms to partly satisfy both parties, but the one that takes care about the function as well as aesthetics.

house2-placement
When dealing with a larger plots of land, the models of a wider area proved to be an irreplaceable tool to comprehend the terrain features and study object placement.

Hard negotiators

To them, it is not that much about the money – usually they have it more than enough. It is the act of negotiating itself that drives them. They negotiate hard and long and, sometimes, past any reasonable deadline. Sometimes, they are even willing to abandon the optimal solution due to the fact, that through negotiation process, they were not able to achieve the desired success.

It rarely happens, that I recognize them early in the process. I guess it is because, they either show their modus operandi instantly and it doesn’t even come to the initial agreement or they read me better that I read them and restrict themselves to employ their methods on me.

The result is that I am always surprised when their true nature comes out. And when it does and I get a feeling they go to far, I try to gently consult them in favor of getting to a win – win deals. I honestly believe that everyone included into the process should be paid a fair price for the work he has done. If that is not the case, negative thoughts, negative energies, negative karma if you like, would stay over the place and affect its dwellers wellbeing. So in that way, I am also working for my clients’ best interests as well.

materials_gs
Combining the materials, textures, colours,…

Calculators

Proficient in Excel spreadsheets.
They always amaze me how thoroughly they are able to calculate everything in advance.
Being aware of their budget limits and honest enough not to afford themselves to buy something they would not be able to pay, they don’t spare any effort to stay on top of things – financially at least.

Taking care of the budget is supposed to be an architects’ role and responsibility. The responsibility I take very seriously. That is why, although I was not carved for that, I constantly throw myself out of my comfort zone, to deal with that part of my profession as well. But knowing very well, that I can’t compete with them, it is always kind of relief to see, that at least part of that burden would be competently taken care of.

BBY-versions
Different volumes study on a small scale models.

Project managers

They usually – but not exclusively – coming from the entrepreneurs or corporation environments. Although not familiar with the specifics, they manage to get their bearing very quickly and are able to stay on top of things through the process. They are the bless – as well as pain in the ass. Especially sometimes, when their insight gives them the basis to rightfully demand action, one tends to avoid or at least postpone. But at the end of the day, they too take some load from architects’ shoulders and are paramount for the process to advance smoothly and without unnecessary delays.

8
Entrepreneurs are good at process management… simply because they have to be.

Decision makers

They do not hesitate. They are aware that most decisions are not critical and believe that, in most cases, any decision is better than no decision at all. So they choose to bring decisions quickly and they are proud of that.
They are oriented forward and never look back.

They are easy and joy to work with… except when they make a bad decision. That is why with them, one should do one’s homework exceptionally thoroughly to ensure, that the proposed solution is the right one.

0
Regardless of the thoroughness of preparations and planning, many decisions have to be done on the spot.

Insecure ones.

They are the antipode of the previous ones. They are frightened that they will make a wrong decision. And that fear is not without a reason since many of the decisions during the process are either very costly to change later on while other are plainly irreversible altogether. And so, they suffer and drag on with the final decision, sometimes even past the last deadline. And even those, that want to change afterwards. I try to help them by discussing the options in length, presenting, arguing, mockuping, taking them around to see how it turned out on some other buildings and making them talk to other clients and experts,… while knowing, that at the end of the day, I can only do that much.

Never the less, they are the bravest of all groups. They suffer, but they somehow manage to overcome their fears. They struggle, but progress through the process. Drip by drip, step by step.

patterns
If one has a hard time to decide upon the pattern, why not choose to make all of them :)

Positivists

They do not look on a world from the bright side. To them, the world is bright. They tend to motivate people working for them. They treat them well and with sincere respect. For them, the whole process is an amazing event that brightens their life even more. Every decision they make is based on a positive thinking. And every problem, every mistake that needs to be rectified, they approach from the perspective of how to use that in a way to make it work even better than it was meant to.

Since, regardless of how much one strives to avoid mistakes, they sometimes inevitably appear, that attitude proves to be a bless and is without exception rewarded with the best possible outcome.

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On site mockup-ing.

Intuitivists

But the group that impresses me the most is the intuitive ones. They usually do not negotiate hard. They don’t calculate every expense in advance. They don’t manage project but go with a flow. Their decision, the decisions that sometimes irrational and that other group would sometimes dismiss as not optimal if not out-of-the-head crazy, are based mainly on their instincts. They do not over think things. They trust the people they choose. They come up with the decisions that are on them, quickly.

And what the most interesting thing is, that at the end of the day, they do not do any worse. Sometimes, they even come out better off.

After thinking a lot about the topic, my best guess is, that the reason they are able to function that way lays in a simple fact, that they are just so connected with their inner self, that they could process the data on a different level. That allows them to take into accounts not only the measurable but also the more subtle factors that one could not ponder or measure or support with arguments or rock solid evidence. The factors that many other don’t even see and therefore do not take into account.

Intuitivists do. They listen to the silent voices and feel confident to trust instincts and base their decisions on that.

The intuitivists are the people, I find the most easy and pleasant to work with.
Volumes and composition and feelings and user experience and other soft, invisible, unmeasurable, incalculable topics. Questions, where no simple right or wrong answer is possible. Feelings and senses. All that, that is also highly important to me, it is soooo much easier and so much fruitful, to discuss with them than with any other types. With them, I feel some deeper understanding that allows me to work through trivia really fast, saving the time and energy and use them to create something really special.

intuitivist

Of course, no person is so single minded to fit into one group alone. Au contrarie. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Each of us, has many, if not all the parts in him or her.

But regardless of their primary modus operandi, I’d say, that all my clients, either they are aware of that or not, have a lot of intuitivist in them. And that goes for women in particular.

 
 

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