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We Architect Types January 3, 2009

Posted by randydeutsch in Uncategorized.
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“In Cairo I have seen buildings which were falling down as they were being put up, buildings whose incompletion was complete.” – William H. Gass

Just who is this architect? In its broadest sense, we’re people who translate a user’s requirements into a built environment, applications or services within an organization.

The title “architect” – as seen on a business card or LinkedIn – is unregulated and so anyone can use it and it appears often does. This weblog has been created to address this very audience – anyone who by name, practice, or calling calls themselves an architect – including those would-be architects who haven’t yet.

So who are we? To name just a few, Building design architects (Residential architects, Commercial architects;) Solutions architects (Application architects, Software architects, Data architects, Integration architects) who work with Enterprise architects (Strategic architects, Chief architects, Business architects) and Infrastructure architects (Technology architects, Systems architects…) and so on.

From here it begins to approximate Borge’s famed (and hilarious) Chinese encyclopedia’s virtual taxonomy of animals. We can’t be sure that our own very own taxonomy of architects is not equally skewed. Perhaps we are so accustomed to our categories that they seem natural to us, beyond question even, but are they?

Jorge Luis Borges describes a certain Chinese encyclopedia in which it is written:

(…) animals are divided into:
1. those that belong to the Emperor,
2. embalmed ones,
3. those that are trained,
4. suckling pigs,
5. mermaids,
6. fabulous ones,
7. stray dogs,
8. those included in the present classification,
9. those that tremble as if they were mad,
10. innumerable ones,
11. those drawn with a very fine camelhair brush,
12. others,
13. those that have just broken a flower vase,
14. those that from a long way off look like flies.

As Michel Foucault intimates in The Order of Things, Borges expresses doubts about any attempt at a universal classification for, in Borges view, all taxonomies are arbitrary. The Complete Architect is no exception. That’s just part of the challenge and provocation…

When we speak of The Complete Architect, we’re addressing a certain level of abstraction – so that what we have to say here applies to all architects, from all walks. On social networking site LinkedIn the following architects can be found by title or situation:

Resource Architects, Out of work architects, Lead Active Directory architects, Knowledge architects, Business Process architects, Architects of the Eisenhower administration, Good enough architects, Difficult architects, Landscape architects, Chief enterprise architects, Information architect, IT infrastructure architects, Principal Digital architects, Brand architects, Distinct architects, Disaster recovery architects, Conversion architects, Data architects, Senior java architects, Creative architects, Poor architects…

As for the complete architect., te world has given us The Complete Peanuts, The Complete Manual of Things That Might Kill You, The Complete Lyrics of Oscar Hammerstein II, The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia and The Complete Joy of Homebrewing. But not the Complete Architect. Why?

What would a complete architect look like? An architect having all necessary parts, components, or steps? An architect having come to an end of his search i.e. retirement and most of us know the architect does not retire. In fact, he only gets rolling after age 50…

Certainly the complete architect would be skilled, accomplished, thorough, consummate. The word “complete” here implies a goal for the architect to strive toward or after. For the Complete Architect is in a perpetual state of becoming. To be complete – to complete oneself – as an architect one must first know what one is missing. My aim with this blog is to point out some of the gaps in our understanding and share with you some tools that might be of use to you as we work our way toward personal and professional mastery. For, as Winston S. Churchill said, “Give us the tools, and we will finish the job.”