Episode 21: How to Manage Your Ego…and Other Things I Learned in Architecture School – Interview with Matthew Frederick

[Design process] can be frustrating because that’s the invisible part, but it might be the most important thing you’ll take out into the real world after graduation.

matt_frederickThis week I’m very excited to chat with the wonderful Matthew Frederick.

Matthew is an architect, educator and author of one of my favourite books of all time, 101 Things I Learned in Architecture School.

In fact, he has created a whole ‘101 Things I Learned’ series! Check it out here: www.101thingsilearned.com.

In this episode Matt and I delve a little deeper into 4 lessons from the book:

  • How to draw a line (#1)
  • Manage your ego (#86)
  • If you can’t explain your ideas to your grandmother in terms that she understands, you don’t know your subject well enough (#48)
  • An effective oral presentation of a studio project begins with the general and proceeds towards the specific (#57)

Thank you also to Will for sharing his Story from Studio with us! (Click here to share yours!)

You will also discover:

  • The story behind ‘101 Things…’
  • Matt’s ‘2 Things’ that stand out from the ‘101 Things':
    1. Figure-ground theory (space is as important as the objects in the space)
    2. Learning process as opposed to fixating on the product
  • Why you should delete the words “I wanted my building to do/be/look like…” from your presentation vocabulary!
  • There’s power and authority in the way your even hold a pencil!
  • The two jobs of design critics:
    1. Critique your approach to the project
    2. Accept your approach and critique HOW well you did at reaching your own goals
  • Matt’s tips for improving your body language
  • The number one thing he wishes he learned in architecture school (Hint: it’s to do with design process, and it’s a skill you can start developing right now!)

Links mentioned in this episode:

Challenge of the Week:

Matt and I were talking about the importance of drawing a line with a firm beginning and a firm end to express your intent.

This week, practice taking that approach and apply it to the way you speak. So for example, if you’re ordering food at a restaurant, instead of saying: “Umm, ok, let me see, can I get…the ceasar salad, um, without the dressing? Ok thank you…” speak with a strong, firm beginning and ending: “Hello! Yes, I’d like the cesar salad please, without the dressing. Thank you so much!”

This may require you to pause for a second to prepare your response, but it’s great practice for when you’re in a higher pressure situation, where it’s important to speak with confidence and authority!

The story behind my invite to Matt:

What are your thoughts?