My father was a passionate proponent of architecture and design. Throughout his career he worked with some of the best in South Florida, including Gail Baldwin and Don Sackman, Roney Mateu, Frank Schulwolf, Jordan Barrett and Murray Gaby, and Manny Abraben. I don’t think my dad ever worked with Alfred Browning Parker but I know he was a big fan.
Alfred-Browning-ParkerWikipedia says Alfred Browning Parker “was a Modernist architect who is one of the best-known post World War II residential architects. He gained fame for his highly published modern houses in the region around Miami, Florida.”

Once a year House Beautiful, the primary architecture magazine of the 1950s and 1960s dedicated an entire issue to their House Of The Year. Four of Parker’s homes were selected, more than any other architect. In 2006 Wallpaper* magazine chose Woodsong, Parker’s Miami residence, for their “Top 10 Houses of the World,” the only house chosen in all of North America.

On Friday I was lucky enough to have lunch with a group of Miami creative leaders that included Parker’s son Robin. Robin sent me his dad’s list of “Aphorisms For Architects” from an early issue of The Florida Architect that I know my dad would have loved. More relevant to all of us, Parker’s aphorisms are perfect not just for architects but for marketers, entrepreneurs, speakers, business people and anyone striving to do a great job and make a difference. You might have to change an architecture-specific term here or there to fit your own profession — and life — but I think you’ll get the picture.

Woodsong-Large

I am honored to share these with you. Thank you Robin (and ABP).

Alfred Browning Parker’s Aphorisms For Architects

  1. Choose clients.
  2. Design down to no one.
  3. If your work is worth anything, get paid for it. Once you have accepted an assignment, don’t keep an eye on the office budget.
  4. Building codes, zoning, regulatory agencies, financing institutions, etc. should contribute to a design. If they hinder the proper realization of a project, fight.
  5. Courage is when you do something you are afraid to do. With liability insurance rates on the increase, such a quality is required in our profession.
  6. A budget is an old friend and should be cherished as such. This does not mean to imply that one cannot, upon occasion, differ with a friend.
  7. Architects should be more loving.
  8. Seek in the problem for the answers, not in your ego. The “i” in architecture is a small letter.
  9. If you can’t be a great artist, at least be a good carpenter… or a good mason… or a good plumber.
  10. Love humanity. It’s what you belong to, but don’t ignore life. It is larger and wiser than we are.
  11. Do not make excuses; emphasize your strengths for our environment needs all the help it can get.
  12. Do not adapt too perfectly to your environment. You must be able to change.
  13. Live harmoniously but don’t underrate the shocks.
  14. If you have large environmental responsibilities, move slowly and carefully for at best our hands are far too heavy and nature’s balance is a fragile equilibrium.
  15. We should know enough of symbiosis to apply in our daily work. Enough of heterozygosity to bless the variant among us… and to look up words we don’t understand.
  16. Leave plenty of stones unturned. Earthworms are still our salvation.