fountain pen

Do you need another way of writing about yourself?

Bios have been at the forefront of my mind over the last few weeks. And by ‘bios’ I mean those pesky descriptions of ourselves that we all have to write at one time or another.

I’ve talked before about how to turn a traditional bio on its head and make it better. It really does work, so if you’re short of time and imagination it’s a good way to go. (And if you’d like a reminder of the steps to take, get in touch.)

But what about if you’re ready for something different? Here’s what you need to do.

Think of three things:

1. Something that excites you about architecture, or something that you see as one of your real strengths.

2. A project where you’ve put this to good use/indulged this interest/made the most of this skill.

3. Something good/surprising/special about how that project turned out.

Now just link those three things together. You’ll have found a way of way of writing about yourself that is natural and human – and a lot more interesting than a list of qualifications and jobs from twenty years ago.

To see how this can work, read this:

‘I still get a kick out of seeing people enjoy a new space that we’ve designed – the interaction, the exchange, seeing it all work as we’d envisaged. My first project after qualifying was a primary school in Elephant and Castle, a tired little Victorian building, cramped and lacking in natural light. The big idea was to suspend a new corridor structure to the outside of the building at first-floor level, looking down over the playground and freeing up space for the classrooms. The impact on the kids was immense. Suddenly they had space to move, light poured into the classrooms, and all parts of the school were now visually connected via the corridor. The headmaster was stoked, the kids’ behaviour improved, the moral of teaching staff lifted. Space makes place, whether it’s the high street, the class room, the office, or the home.’

It’s the bio for Paul Nicholson at Chalk Architecture. Chalk* are a lovely practice in Brighton who I worked with last year, and I can’t think of a bio I like better than Paul’s. It reads like a story, and it conveys his ambition, his purpose and his enjoyment of the architectural process. A bio shouldn’t just give potential clients a bland potted history; it should make them want to work with you.

If you’ve been ignoring your bio for far too long, or you cringe every time you read it, then this very different approach could be the answer… I hope it might be.

*It’s now 2022, and I can find neither sight nor sound of Chalk on the internet. It looks as if I need the past tense here, sadly.




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