Imagination and creativity are the key components of being a successful architect. Nowadays, people interested in design explore the world of design through the internet and other social media. This, in turn, allows many keen design enthusiasts to pursue this field without having an architectural degree. The various exposures and learning processes introduce a broad range of designers with unique styles and ideologies. Architecture is standing proof of the power of the combination of different fields. If that’s the case, what if a celebrity with no architectural degree decides to become an architect? How will their exposure and ideologies influence their design process? Will they design a unique style of structure? Let’s take a look at one of the famous modern painters, Sean Scully.

Sean Scully as an architect - Sheet1
Sean Scully _ ©Martin Godwin/Guardian

Sean Scully, one of the prominent painters of the 21st century, who is also skilled as a printmaker, sculptor, and photographer, is well-accomplished. His works have been held in museum collections all over the world. When he moved from London to New York, he helped make the transition from minimalism to emotional abstraction in painting. This suggests that he has a deep knowledge of minimalism and abstraction styles, which can easily be applied to architecture. Throughout the centuries, architecture has evolved into different styles, which include abstraction. Through Sean Scully’s works, it is undeniable that he has a good understanding of colour palettes, usage of geometric shapes, visual composition, combining colours and shapes to create simple abstract paintings, which can help him in creating various built spaces with simple forms and integrating various tones of colours to create a unique design.

Sean Scully as an architect - Sheet2
Paintings by Sean Scully _ ©

Art and architecture always go hand in hand. Sean Scully is skilled in various arts. The combined knowledge will produce unique designs that can serve as an inspiration to future architects, like the other artists who have tried their hand at architecture. Sean Scully’s skills in sculpting have allowed him to have a good understanding of 3-dimensional geometry, stability, 3-D composition, visual balance, form and voids, the quality of materials and how they can be utilized to their maximum potential, and also understand the principles of design. He is known for his ability to easily translate his sculpting abilities into architectural marvels. He uses reflecting materials like mirrors and coloured glasses to create interesting visuals in a sculpture. All of these ideas can be easily converted into small-scale architectural spaces and can also be implemented in landscape design. For sculpting, he mainly uses metals like aluminium and copper, which means he has a good understanding of their properties and knows how to use them to their maximum potential. His sculpting skills can also allow him to create an interesting order and hierarchy of spaces in a design.

Sean Scully as an architect - Sheet3
Sean Scully Crate of Air 2018_ © Sean Scully
Sean Scully Wall Dale Cubed 2018_ © Sean Scully

Sean Scully’s photography skills will allow him to understand basic principles of design such as symmetry, golden ratios, colour balance, and composition, which will be very helpful as an architect in designing interiors and architectural forms. In the case of Sean Scully, it is important to note that, in contrast to architects who have a degree, he has knowledge of design principles and can artistically combine them to create architectural marvels. Architects with a professional degree, on the other hand, would know design principles but would have to learn over time how to apply this combined knowledge to create architectural wonders.

Architecture comes in many scales and uses. If Sean Scully were an architect, his unique abilities would allow him to design unique architectural elements such as pavilions, landscape elements, small-scale structures, interactive public plazas, etc. He would easily be able to create architectural masterpieces that defy the common conceptions that persist in the architectural field. It is a known fact that an individual’s personal experiences can shape their ideologies as an architect. Sean Scully’s experiences in arts and crafts, combined with his experiences in his private life that shaped him to be who he is today, can influence his architectural design. In terms of clientele, his current clients will be interested in approaching him as an architect, as architecture can be artistic in terms of forms, colours, materials, spatial arrangements and the whole process and spatial experience itself.

Many architectural wonders were designed by self-taught architects and artisans who were skilled in various arts. A few of them include Frank Lloyd Wright, Mies van der Rohe, and even Buckminster Fuller. They are proof that a five-year degree from a university is not needed or not enough to become an architect. Mies van der Rohe correctly stated that “God is in the details” because architecture combines minor details. It may seem simple from the exterior. But the process is very complicated. As someone who wasn’t exposed to the field of architecture but instead was exposed to other fields of art, it is important to acknowledge the exceptional potential and capabilities Sean Scully, a painter, printmaker, sculptor, and photographer, has to become an architect.


Title: Sean Scully. Available at: Accessed date: 31/08/22


A creative enthusiast with keen interests in photography, art and travelling, focusing on redefining the architectural design by combining social and environmental sustainability while creating spaces that exhilarate people. A very dedicated and hard-working individual, with a strong belief, that a true understanding of architectural design cannot be achieved without critically analyzing and researching, which can be achieved through reading, writing and visual depictions.