Introvert Architects: What Role Does Introversion Play in the Discipline of Architecture?

The setting up of an office that supports and is supported by introversion came out from a series of personal explorations, then evolved into the main design output for this thesis project. The starting point is in difference, more particularly in seeing difference as a source of creative potential, rather than operating on simplistic distinctions and assumptions. To do so requires a shift in thinking, by which engaging with ‘affect’ serves as the method in identifying, valuing, and celebrating ways of being that are different from the dominant narrative in practising architecture. The next step is to unpick the ‘ideal’ architectural professional that is neutral, objective, and persuasive.

Our aim is to propose a new working environment which counters the Extrovert Ideal – in which the overly assertive, louder, and competitive are more visible. At IntrovertA, we value our quiet strengths. We do this by adopting an advisory role rather than a persuasive one. In practical terms, this means the way we work is by listening and sharing, instead of informing. We prioritise our thoughts and intuitions over outside sources, as a means of guiding development in the design process. We believe in starting from a point of inner clarity, i.e. seeking and strengthening our sense of identity, then embodying the new-found understanding in forms of creative output.

‘Architect is the discipline of architecture.We look first at the human who become architects, then expand the capacity to act and be acted upon in the city, and its citizens is our focus. This ‘inside-out’ approach describes a way of looking that observes closer, be deliberately slower in reaching an understanding, and to reflect on the social process of practising as introvert architects.