If you ask me “why I got into Architecture?” you would get a much different answer now than when I started my career thirty years ago. In fact, my answer would change every few years based on career and life experiences. As we cycled through the economic depression of the past couple years my most recent answer may have been “why the hell did I get into Architecture?” The effects of the downturn, which reduced our profession by 60% and had construction activity at a near halt, made us all question ourselves and our business. Yet, I still love what I do.
When I started my career I did not have a designed path to follow; nor, did I choose Architecture -it, more or less, just happened to me. Although, I believe certain aspects of what Architects do is in my blood and in my nature.
As a child and a young man I was always interested in how things were put together. Whether it be my oversized 70’s boom box, my wood skateboard, my bike made of salvaged parts, my erector set, my lincoln logs, my tinker toys, the tree house in the old oak tree or the fort made of scrap cardboard, plywood and earthen berms, I would spend countless hours trying this or that. I would explore options until it felt and worked just right. If it didn’t feel, look or function just right I would have no problem tearing it apart and starting over. I guess it is the type C personality in me that strives for accuracy and quality. I equate this to “good design.” My wife and my coworkers who know me may say, it is my stubbornness.
I believe there are many kinds of Architects or in general terms, professionals in the field of Architecture. For example there are Business Architects, Technical Architects, Philosophical Architects, Project Management Architects, Teaching Architects, etc. Most notably there are Egotistical Architects….um, I mean Design Architects. I’m not sure if the Ego comes from their true talent or that the need to defend their true talent creates their Ego. The good ones have great balance of both. Throughout my years in the profession I have come to recognize my own talents – or should I say my limitations – and to appreciate Design Architects and the great designs they create. But I still want to dig in and make it feel just right and make sure it works perfectly.
I consider myself more on the Technical, Business, Management and Project Delivery side of the profession. For me the passion is about ensuring the accuracy and quality of the Designs we create as a team. It is about learning and understanding the purpose behind the Design in order to ensure it will feel and work just right for those that experience or use it. There is a desire to continuously improve myself, my work, and my community. It’s the same satisfaction I got as a child and young man examining, understanding both the how and why things are.
This is why I still choose Architecture.