Top-10 lies architects tell their clients

People love charts. There are tons of hit lists for musicians, movie-stars, politicians (they call it polls). Unfortunately there are not too many charts for the architects. And those that exist are as boring as hell. “Top-10 best architects” or “Top-100 most beautiful villas…” Gimme a break! So I’ve decided to do something about it. I have already published 2 weird architectural top-lists and people love it. (See it here & here). So I will keep doing it from time to time…. Enjoy the reading.



“Oh, what lies there are in kisses.” | Heinrich Heine


1.        “It will be a beautiful project”

The most banal, the most common, the most sincere lie. It will be beautiful in your dreams. Between your “beautiful” and client’s “project” there is one spacebar and few factors. Project’s budget (always a problem!), builder’s willingness to comprehend your vision (never happens, though – builders are an ultimate evil) and your talent (yeah… you’d never question that one… nevertheless…)

Besides if this claim of yours is true we should be surrounded by “beautiful projects’ only. Does it make any sense?

2.        “Sure we’ve done it before”

Of course we all have similar projects in our portfolio. But we perfectly know that every fucking detail, every bloody nuance is unique in architecture. That there are no two identical hotels, houses or office towers. We’ve never done it before; our profession is a constant experiment and an endless creative research. But go and try to explain it to the client… Good luck!

3.        “We can work with any budget”

Here we are just too shy to complete the sentence to the Client. The full version is …“We can work with any budget… as long as it’s at least 10 times higher than your initial estimations…” Otherwise no budget will answer our great vision. A broader form of the lie would be “We can work under any circumstances”. But eventually it always comes down to money (we call it “funds” in our politically correct world). So there’s no need to generalize. Don’t be afraid, be more specific using that tricky word “budget”.

4.        “Don’t worry about it”

A universal lie. If I would be a Client I’d start to worry immediately after this kind of assurance.


5.        “Our consultants can resolve any issue”

Well… yeah… maybe. Although there is a little controversy here and Topic 3. Any budget, any issues… You have mentioned word “any” for the second time… In my view mentioning it even once is an unproductive BS.

6.        “Our meetings with your marketing team are very productive”

Liar. Liar. Liar. Marketing people are diabolic creatures and your meetings with them remind you of Hieronymus Bosch paintings. Word “Hell” is not powerful enough to describe those meetings…

But!… there’s always a “but”… But at least that sales manager is such a hot chic (cute guy…) and I got her (his) cell number now…


7.        “For us client’s interests come first”

Another sincere lie. Our ego comes first. We are all-knowing architects. We are the ultimate Creators. And this guy… he’s just happened to be around with the money (sorry –“funds”!) to make our Grande Vision and his pathetic dreams to come true. You might think that you don’t think like that, but you do. It’s natural to architects, because we are ultimate Creators after all…

8.        “This is the best project we’ve ever designed”

Another modification is: “The most interesting building we have ever worked on”. In ideal world – yes. In reality it seems to you that every project is more complex and more problematic and more chaotic than the previous ones… Deep inside you’re always bitching about the present situation and drag the memories from the times “when things were different”. It’s perfectly fine. Human nature is dual. So I’d call it an organic lie.

9.        “We love our clients.”

Big fat lie. Nevertheless every architect repeats it. Especially on the public ceremonies. We love our clients’ money. Sorry for being too materialistic, but how can you love the guy that stands between you and your dream with their miserable practical considerations? But you know what…let’s assume it’s possible. But how can you love the guy whose wife is telling you about her artistic preferences based on the wallpaper color of her living room. And you know that her “preferences” are direct instructions for you, her preferences are military orders “set in stone” for you. You hate her, her preferences, color of her freaking wallpaper and color of her manicure. Your hate is deep and just. So much for “we love our clients”… It violates the principle: “My client’s wife is my real client…”

10.     “This is what we do.”

Putting extra-hours, working for the miserable fees, arguing with the marketing witches and the “artistic spouse”, fighting with the lousy contractors and trying to explain your concept to the stubborn structural engineers, knowing that your deadline is unrealistic yet to keep it, knowing that they (evil forces) will never build it the way you design, knowing that the chances to materialize all the beauty and passion of your ideas are close to zero… This is what we do?

Fuck, no! This is what we live and die for. This is architecture.


8 Responses to “Top-10 lies architects tell their clients”
  1. Dear Albert!
    I’ve forwarded your perfect article to russian source:
    I just adopted it to common moskovite’s professional russian argo. I know, you have the Russian mirror of your site, but it was pleasure for me to translate these ideas, they are so close to us…

    • Albert says:

      Thank you for your good will and for removing my essay from that second-rate dubious site interiors_ru. Why would you go to such a “dump” anyway?

  2. Albert, simply great, you know perfectly what is the profession of architect about

  3. LOL! Your cynicism is a welcome and refreshing in a field of professional liars! Ha!

  4. Chris says:

    I agree with some of these things but one of my biggest gripes is better depicted in this video >> It’s relevant because this is when the person providing the service lies about being able to cut the price of things to keep the client. Come time to pay for the work needed to be done for the client the service provider takes this savings out of their employees pay checks knowing damned well they shouldn’t have said yes to begin with. Architects are not the only ones guilty of this, superintendents and general contractors are too.
    The bottom line is it’s still stealing if you take pay from an employee funnel it through a company and call it savings.

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