Dream BIG. Have Vision.

First Baptist Church - Woodstock,GA
Last week I was afforded the opportunity to step away from my daily architectural grind and attend a conference in Atlanta for three days.  It was an architecture related conference covering issues of building design and the use of technology in worship facilities in the United States.  Being from Canada I certainly had to adjust my mentality as various projects were presented having a scale and budget well beyond that of the local market I know.  Case in point, one of the evenings I joined a tour of First Baptist Church in Woodstock just outside of Atlanta.  It had an auditorium sized for 7,500 people and cost $65 million to construct. It was beautiful and awe inspiring. I walked around in amazement to think that a group of christian believers would dare to dream so large. It wasn't so much the scale of the building that impressed me most or the high impact architectural detailing - it was the fact that the people of this church had a vision of something well beyond their imagination and capabilities.  They took their vision and acted with purpose.  A faith that moves.  That inspires me.

Interesting (and related) was the theme of "Why?" which seemed to permeate the undertone of each conference session. Why do you do what you do? What is the driving force of your every move? Is there a purpose in your actions?  I had no choice but to think about what that meant for me and my work as an architect as well as the firm my partners and I oversee.  Do I have a vision for what I do and what I design?  I'm realizing it is imperative that I take a larger view of things each day.  If I don't, I simply default into making daily choices in a haphazard manner based on a plethora of insignificant and disjointed reasons. I will either be clear and consistent or end up misunderstood.  This idea of vision was exemplified in a couple sessions presented by a fellow design professional, Mel McGowan of Visioneering Studios.  He presented several church projects the firm had designed throughout the United States.  It was clear the projects were under-girded by a strong vision and focused direction which ultimately led to a clear architectural expression.  These buildings were manifestations of ideas that carried power for the people, and more importantly, the Person within its walls - "architectural evangelism" as McGowan described it.

So think big. No, think huge.  Remember your decisions are guided by something. Be intentional and move with purpose. Step away, then back. Be inspired. Believe you have been given gifts that can have great impact - on others, on what you do, on your ideas.  Dream BIG. Have Vision.

1 comment:

  1. Atlanta, I love Atlanta. We (Janice and Catherine came with me) were there in '06 for a IB conference. Did you get a chance to spend much time exploring the city? The aquarium downtown is Janice's favourite.

    We stayed an extra day and went to a service at North Point Community Church (the church pastored by Andy Stanley), it was our first experience with a "mega church" and I found the whole experience very interesting from the parking (newcomers got to park in the parking lot closest to the building) , to the kids area and to the auditorium/sanctuary. It was really interesting.

    Thanks for the blog, your a thoughtful guy and much much more than "just a simple architect," although I also appreciate your modesty.