I was reading an interview with Renzo Piano in this fridays issue of D2. He is one of the most revered architects of our time and is responsible for many great buildings, amongst them the Pompidou centre in Paris which was his first big break through. He is known for his innovative ideas, but also his very good technical and functional execution of the designs. He was interviewed in connection with the Tjuvholmen project in Oslo, and one of the quotes was just spot on (my translation):
My fundamental reason has it’s origins in my builder background. To me, architecture is a craft. You can’t separate the idea of a building from the execution of it, even though a lot of architects act like it. This has been catastrophic for architecture. – Renzo Piano
In the software world there seems to be a notion that you can draw the architecture, and then let someone else design the details. Because it is based on high level ideas and sometimes faulty assumptions it becomes a resistance for building a good solution, in stead of enabling a solid foundation. Stop separating the architecture from execution, and make sure it is something that is flexible and evolves as execution moves forward. In other words: Architects need to take part in the execution to see the constraints the architecture imposes, and see new opportunities for the architecture to evolve into.
I’m not going to go into that rant now, that’s content for another post, but that also means that the architecture must be evolvable. And less code is more flexible than a lot of code. Strangely enough most architectural constraints tend to lead to more code, not less. 🙂