Recently I read an interview of an actor in the newspaper, where he described himself as a method actor with spontaneity. Actors are often relegated to being labelled one of the two, whereas in reality is that each actor would fall somewhere in the spectrum between the two.
This drew me towards understanding the equivalent of the same to an architect, for the two ends of the spectrum can often be applied to an architect as well. One definition of a method actor on the vast internet explains that method acting is a group of techniques actors use to create in themselves the thoughts and feelings of their characters, so as to develop lifelike performances. What begins as empathy for the character then needs to be internalised.
One could equate this empathy for the character into what architects call sensitivity. An architect has to be sensitive to multiple notions of a project – the background, history, context, problems, challenges and potential, amongst others in the vast scope of study in the approach of each project. While the backstory of a character in a film may be part of a very specific time and place (often hypothetical and so in our control to create), a project comes with layers of pre-existent back stories – all interweaving and affecting one another, often leaving a messy web in which to situate a building that ties onto these webs in the best way possible.
Yet, the underlying basis of creativity lies in staying loose – staying spontaneous. Somewhere, all the information meant to sensitise us needs to be internalised and allow for ideas to flow during the process. It’s meant to only inform the process and let other ideas take centerstage from thereon.
So then, for us creatives alike, there will always be a challenge to strike a balance with this spontaneity and informing ourselves. For an outcome without method is baseless and method without implementing is pointless. We just make our way through the spectrum and shape our place in this creative world.