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Architecture without Ego

An ego centered approach to design often results in conflict between clients, architects, builders, and many others. At Clockwork we believe in the pursuit of architecture without ego.


Every architect, and importantly every architect’s clients, has heard horror stories of the process of working with architects.

From controlling designers who dictate “style”, to egotistical personalities that can’t work with others, architects as conceived in the popular imagination tend to be overbearing figures who will do anything to further their personal vision. As undeserved as this reputation may be, it’s easy to see where it comes from. Stories of famous architects often point to the egotistical nature of many individuals.

Frank Lloyd Wright, one of the most publicly known architects, is said to have rearranged his client’s furniture, dictated the clothes they wore, and even instructed a client, who complained of a roof leak above the dining table, to move his chair! An ego centered approach to design often results in conflict between clients, architects, builders, and many others. This in turn leads many projects to be delayed, over budget, or unrecognizable from what the client wanted or needed.

When the roof of Wingspread, a Wright designed house in Illinois leaked on the head of client H.F. Johnson, of the S.C. Johnson family, Wright is famously quoted as saying: “Well, why don’t you move your chair?”

At Clockwork we believe in the pursuit of architecture without ego. As architects and designers, we see the value in our clients’ thoughts, experiences, and ideas. Our desire is to work alongside clients to grow and build their vision into a reality. We want to be trusted partners, always willing to listen and explore new ideas. This goal of partnership extends into all market sectors of our firm.

In residential design we know nothing is more important than the long-term well-being and enjoyment of our client, the homeowner. As the people who will inhabit and experience their home every day, the final design must be fitted to their lifestyle, aiming to support, enhance, and enrich their daily lives. The identity and soul of a home is created through the time spent living, gathering, and resting in it. As architects we work with our clients to create spaces that they feel ownership over and can make their home.

Lee Boulevard House. Architecture + Design: Clockwork

In the hospitaliy and entertainment market, we value connecting with our clients’ customers. We try to understand the client’s vision for customer experience, how they want to engage with and keep customers invested in an experience. We use this to inform design in all elements, be it a hotel lounge, pickleball court, or 200 seat auditorium. Strengthening these connections of architect, client, and customer creates an environment tailored to customer experience, efficient operation, and bespoke design.

The Ozarker Lodge. Architecture: Clockwork, Design: Parini

In workplace design, we recognize and affirm the strong brand and identity that many of our clients have established. We believe a successful workplace is rooted in a business’s core values and identity, and enables individuals to make meaningful contributions through their day-to-day activities. Through discussing future business goals, growth opportunities, and innovations, we assist our clients in building an office space that can achieve these goals and encourage community and employee engagement.

First Mortgage Direct. Architecture + Design: Clockwork

These are the kind of relationships Clockwork seeks to establish and nurture. Relationships where openness, honesty, and trust are defining elements. Through a wide range of project types, we never seek to impose our will but always aim for the good of the project, client, and public. That is how Clockwork pursues architecture without ego.


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