Was showing a colleague one of my favourite small books yesterday: Matthew Frederick’s 101 Things I Learned In Architecture School. Briefly flicking through the two-page spreads, one caught my eye. Seems so apposite to enterprise-architecture and the like that it’s worth reproducing here in its entirety:
Two points of view on architecture
ARCHITECTURE IS AN EXERCISE IN TRUTH. A proper building is responsible to universal knowledge and is wholly honest in the expression of its functions and materials.
ARCHITECTURE IS AN EXERCISE IN NARRATIVE. Architecture is a vehicle for the telling of stories, a canvas for relaying societal myths, a stage for the theater of everyday life.
‘Classic’ enterprise-architectures would lean toward the former point of view, I suppose. It’s certainly true that structure and function are key areas of focus, and the best do indeed express a real honesty and ‘responsibility to universal knowledge’.
Me, I’ll admit I lean more towards the latter point of view: my work does include exploration of structure – and a lot of it – but my real focus is on the enterprise as co-created story. That’s one of the reasons why I find the existing EA toolsets so frustrating: what I want is something that can capture the stories as well as the structure, and link them all together to extend and enhance the overall enterprise story.
It’s really important to keep these two points of view in balance in our architecture practice. And many other points of view too, of course.
No particular point being made here: just thought it was well worth sharing, is all.