How to Become a Famous Architect

Death to Manifestos. Viva How-Tos!

Becoming a famous architect shouldn’t take too long, but don’t expect too much. It’s not a passport to riches, nor an introduction to high society. But if it’s what you want, here’s how to do it.

First, pay a visit to any well stocked newsagent. Buy one copy of each design magazine. You will use these to find out what not to do.

Now go to your local remaindered book store. Buy a copy of a design book with lots of pictures in. Not only is the remaindered store cheaper, but it’s stock is between ten to fifteen years old. These are the least fashionable and so most shocking of all styles. You will use this to copy your new designs from.

On the way home, choose a name for your cutting edge design firm. Something punchy, arty, and a little stupid should do. There are not too many rules about this but make sure it doesn’t include ‘urban’ or ‘studio’. Your name will present an efficient image, suggest an office in a fashionable part of town, and a committed workforce. No one will know that you are really operating out of your bedroom.

Now that you have a name, you need a project. It must be a radical design of a house. It needs a catchy title. Pick a popular word or phrase, then add house to the end of it. If it sounds good, it is good.

Scan in some of the pictures from your new book. Scan in some other pictures you like. Stick them together in the latest version of Photoshop. Play around until you get a nice picture that you can believe in. Check that it dosen’t look too much like the pictures in your magazines.

Now it’s time to develop your mystique. This is all important, because it is what you are selling. Remember, you won’t have to design a building for at least ten years. And in this time you will live off your mystique, so make it good. Mystique is what you say, and the way that you say it.

If you come from continental Europe, great. If you don’t, pretend that you do. Mystique should also suggest revolutionary politics and French philosophy. Don’t talk about these things directly as it never makes good copy and will only confuse you.

In order to alert the magazines, you must write a press release. This should be full of your mystique, good copy, and have your telephone number on it. Know your audience: Journalists. It’s important to remember that design journalists are desperate for anything interesting. This is because architecture is mainly boring. So be interesting. Make outlandish claims; tell them everything they know is wrong; most of all, be prepared to have a radical opinion on anything that may crop up in conversation. They will print it and thank you.

Email your press release to the magazines. The addresses will be in the magazines you bought earlier. No rest yet, because you must now prepare the packs that you will send out. You will be too busy answering the inevitable calls over the next few days, so do it now. The pack should contain your new picture and a radical design statement (see how useful developing that mystique was?).

When the phone starts ringing, you know what to do: Use your cutting edge firms name, your exciting new house title, and your fascinating mystique to full effect. When the phone stops ringing, go to the post office and send your project packs out.

Now it’s time to relax. Head on down to a fashionable architects bar (you will recognize it by its converted industrial look, expensive bar snacks, and people with strange glasses on). Enjoy yourself, but remember your mystique! All you need to do now is remember to buy the magazines that you feature in.

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