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beginner eye, architect on demand, advice without strings

Beginner eye helps us see beyond the surface by feeding our creative impulse. It lets us connect with the world that is hidden from view by mysteriously enhancing our perception. It makes us stay completely present.

To cultivate beginner eye, allow for not-knowing — accept everything as fresh and new — as if you were a child seeing it for the very first time. To uncover possibilities through a lens of beginner eye, live in the moment. Be open to any experience.

Beginner eye: 8 ways to focus on what’s beyond the surface

  1. contemplate everything without preconceived notions but with a sense of wonder and curiosity
  2. acknowledge a mystery, regardless of how much is known
  3. open up to intuition without fear of criticism or ridicule
  4. notice opportunities for learning anew every single time
  5. pay attention or be on the lookout for previously unnoticed facets and details
  6. remain naive, trusting, and unassuming
  7. accept the invisible
  8. never get tired of asking questions

For example, Architect Louis Kahn, an immensely revered teacher, believed that it is every architect’s responsibility to interpret and express what building materials (he actually personified them) have concealed within. In one of his recorded talks with students Kahn said: ”If you think of Brick, you say to Brick, ‘What do you want, Brick?’ And Brick says to you, ‘I like an Arch.’ And if you say to Brick, ‘Look, arches are expensive, and I can use a concrete lintel over you. What do you think of that, Brick?’ Brick says, ‘I like an Arch.’ And it’s important, you see, that you honor the material that you use. [..] You can only do it if you honor the brick and glorify the brick instead of shortchanging it.”

Rainer Maria Rilke in his classic Letters to a Young Poet wrote: “I beg you, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language.”

As DIY architect providing online architectural services, I am blogging as much as designing. The other day, a friend complemented me on my writing. She wondered if I have taken a class or if it has been a result of continuous practice.

And the answer is that I have been honing the skill of formulating thoughts by embracing my beginner eye.

Thus, the key is to never get tired of focusing on what’s beyond the surface. Thus, I invite you to ask a question, suggest a topic, or get on the mailing list here.

P.S. If your life is too chaotic, here is an excellent advice on how to stay centered.


  • Mia Kazovsky
    November 18, 2015

    The Louis Kahn quote really speaks to me. I agree that it is important to honor whichever material you are working with. Also, thank you for the link on how to stay centered. I needed that this week… and every week!

    • Alla DIY Ally
      November 18, 2015

      So glad you found this post useful, Mia. Thank you for reading!

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