Isn’t UX design what architects do already??

When I started studying Architecture, I was surprised at the interest tutors, professors and AEC professionals showed in my past career as UX designer. It also confused me – isn’t UX design what architects already do?

I’m amazed that the response to my question over the past two years has been unanimous: the tutor, professor and professional all do the same thing: tilt of the head, eyes towards the ceiling, say “eeeh well…”, then explain their particular view on what is and isn’t happening with UX in AEC.

It’s been amazingly consistent the other way as well – UX designers and non-AEC people (i.e. everyone else) I’ve discussed this with are also surprised to learn Architecture finds UX design so attractive. They say it too: “I thought that’s what architects already do?”. What is happening?

I’ve learned that it’s very appealing for architects to leave AEC and become a UX designer in the IT industry instead. I’ve learned the AEC industry wants them to stay, but can’t convince them. I’ve learned Architecture wants what UX and IT have, and UX is in awe of Architecture. If I may reduce it to something very simple, it’s this:

Architecture wants the agility and gratification of UX; and UX wants the depth, history and wonderment of Architecture.

I started UX for Architects because I think this is entirely possible, and from the initial enthusiasm I’ve received so far, I know I’m not the only one! While I’m collecting ideas to get a scope of this research project, please feel free to share ideas in the comments below. Add value!

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