Architect Lexicon: Challenge


We often say that we don’t like problems, but, in fact, we can’t live without them. More precisely, we can’t make a living without them. Problems are so important, that architects (most professions, actually) have three words for them.

Challenge: Any problem before it has been analyzed.
“Well, Ms Jones, razing a landmark orphanage to construct a seven story house 30 feet above the height limit certainly sounds like a (insert adjective here*) challenge!”

Opportunity: A problem for which there might be an architectural solution.
“However, we may have an opportunity to receive a variance by mitigating the neighbor’s concerns by enhancing the streetscape and providing carbon offsets (i.e. improve their views and plant trees)”

Obstacle: All other problems
“But, this challenge is not without significant obstacles: the law, for example.”

* The adjective really tells the story. For example:
1. “exciting” – Ms Jones has money,
2. “daunting” – Ms Jones has no money,
3. “impossible and unethical” – Ms Jones works for the planning department.