Should I Be An Architect - A Response In Words For "Life Of An Architect"
Recently Bob Borson otherwise known as "Life Of An Architect" in the online world of blogs and creative architectural genius wrote a blog on Why you should become an architect and considering i start my study through online university next month i felt it an appropriate blog article for myself and have decided to take his points and give my answers on why i want to become an architect. In his blog Bobs' initial premise had shifted from "Should I Become An Architect" to "Why Should I Become An Architect", his reasoning was that life has become tougher recently in the architectural profession over in America and it's safe to say the same has occurred here in Australia, So armed with that ammunition and my current "Student" status thrown into the everyday running of my current business i have taken it upon myself to answer his questions in my own words to see if i truly do want to become an Architect after all theses years of being a Building Designer.
Much like Bob becoming an Architect has been a boyhood dream of mine, from the days of me sitting in my parents front yard sketching plants and houses to my first ever series of mass produced home floor plans for year 9 graphics while everyone was drawing car, surfboard and skateboard designs (i designed an entire series of homes and facades to suit) all the way to me realising through my VCE years (that's high school senior year for those not in Australia) that i wasn't "mathematically smart enough" to get into the course... I guess you could say much like Bob i too wasn't mature enough in my formative years but unlike Bob who got his shit together i didn't, However even at that stage in my life i never let go of the dream and as life does it got in the way of studying for a while... quite a while in fact. Since i finished school in 1995 i went on to study "Architectural Design and Drafting" at TAFE at night whilst working in the industry during the day, all the time thinking of how i would get myself in to study Architecture and until recently the only options were quit work and study full time, which with a young family is an impossible task. Recently however i came across an online course in Architecture at Curtain University and put in an application not really thinking much of it.... Some weeks later an email popped up in my inbox from the university with a letter of offer attached., needless to say i was rather excited that finally after 36 years on this planet i was getting my chance to finally become an architect.
After much discussion and planning the time has now come for me to begin my study and i'm excited. Why? you ask.. well the answers below will clearly explain "Why I Should Become An Architect"
I am a creative person and I need to create things.
That for me is a bit of a given. Being creative is something that comes naturally to me. Whether it's embellishing a story or sketching a house design or heck even creating an entire tv show dedicated to craft beer, creativity is just something that lives and breathes within me.
I shape the lives of others through my work
Like Bob this is one of the corner stones of my design philosophy. Being able to create a "Home" not a hour a "Home" for people is an amazing feeling and one i will never tire of. In fact you could say it's a passion, so much so that after the devastating bush fires of 2009 here in Victoria, Australia i offered up my services free of charge to a survivor of those horrific fires that years before had left an impression on me when visiting his gallery. Through helping him i have helped shape his new life in the small town of Marysville. Bruno with his art gallery & sculpture garden, a wonderful man who is a firm believer of giving gives back has now become an intimate part of my life and family and someone whom i am proud to say i helped through pure generosity and nothing more. I take great pride in knowing i helped this brilliant artist get back on his feet and thrive again and it is a feeling i share with all my clients as they are all just as important as each other regardless of project size, client circumstances or architectural style.
I like to draw
It doesn't matter where i am or what i'm doing drawing and sketching is something that just happens, i could be in the office or having a coffee in the local cafe or even asleep at night if i have a thought that needs to be put down on paper i do it. It's not just houses or details either sometimes i'll just sketch shapes and images that eventually will become buildings and all my design work starts either on a sketch book or on the drawing board... Even though i was a child of the computer generation i feel drawing gives me the complete freedom to create. Much like Bob i'm not one for spreadsheets, i prefer a pencil or pen and some paper and to think through the design or construction solutions in that manner. It may make me old or archaic in how i work but for me it's what works best and is the most enjoyable.
I like to build
Although i'm not as hands on as i would like to be with the building side of things it is definitely something i enjoy. to see a structure i have created growing on site over a period of time is an amazing thing. Like Bob says there is no satisfaction in "Paper Architecture" as seeing your work completed on site is a much more satisfying process for all involved.
I am just “okay” at math
Maths.... the one thing that stood in the way of my desire to become an Architect in my youth.... Well i can safely say i'm much better at maths than i initially thought. Maybe it was the "Not Mature Yet" part of my life that made me think i didn't have it but the last 5 years things mathematically have become much clearer and my determination to not use a calculator when calculating in my designs has enabled me gain a greater understanding of maths and my mathematically abilities. With regards to my study it is still the one part of the course i am most concerned about but i'm sure if i put my mind to it and work hard i will be able to overcome any issues that may arise throughout my study.
I notice the world around me
Ahh this old chestnut.... It's basically all i do, wherever i go, even when i'm driving i am constantly looking at the architecture around me. "How does it sit on the site?" "Is it the right response to the area?" "Could they have used more efficient construction methods?" "Did they really need to use that material externally?" etc... etc... the list goes on. Much like Bob wandering through life i end up noting every minute detail of a structure int the back catalogue of my mind... or on my iPhone.... i have a lot of images of building related matter on my iPhone... downloaded over 5000 photos from it from the last 3 months alone.... obsessed much? and as Bob states watching the flow of people how they move into and out of spaces is something that i do on a daily basis, heck even the way streets are used by vehicles around new developments and how they impact the residents is something i pay far too much attention to, but i enjoy it.
I once worked in an office in the city and every day i had to walk from the station over the Yarra River to the office tower (known as Eureka Tower.. yes i worked in that rather tall building.... but not very high up), every day i would notice little things about the construction of the bridge, the tension of the wire, the angle of the steel and so on. I would study the buildings and how they impacted the surroundings and the flow of people... one day i noticed something very interesting about the flow of people.. almost every person walking around me to or from the station was looking to the ground.. which i found rather odd... i mean there is this wonderful city surrounding you with a constantly changing architecture and every view had a different angle, the sun would gleam off the glass differently each day dependant upon the time of year or the amount of cloud cover.. these things were missed by these people... such beauty being ignored through the "why do i have to go to work attitude". while that little story may have bored you it is the exact reason why i love what i do because it makes me stand up and notice things.. it makes me notice the world around me and appreciate all it has.
I pay attention to the details
Ahhh yes Bob you are so right here! if you like i could describe the house i once delivered a pizza to up in the hills when i was 19 years old. Actually i mentioned to my mother the other day how i remembered the exact layout to a house my auntie and uncle lived in over 25 years ago.. when i was a child... everything from the location of the kitchen and the side the driveway was on, where the bedrooms were located and the late 70's style of architecture that it was built in... heck even the way the entry opened up onto the lounge and was opposite the kitchen doorway with it's small meals area tucked off the side.... call me crazy but those are the things i recall with ease... send me to the shops with 4 items to get and i'll come back with three, ask me to recall the layout or design of a structure i've been to only once or a handful of times and i'll sketch it to a fine degree of accuracy within minutes. Very much the same with directions, send me somewhere once and it's locked into the brain for good to be recalled at any time when needed.
I like variety and change
This is one thing i'm not too good at... change... while i enjoy a variety of projects i am pretty well set in my style and try very hard not to waver from it. But that's just how i roll, i have a determination in my styling of architecture in that way. However when it comes to variety and change in material or technology use i'm all for it. Just don't ask me to design a house in a style i'm not fond of. I'll probably just end up giving you what i know you'll need not what you think you'll want... whoops.
I can work as long as I want and remain relevant while doing so
Yup you got it in one there Bob... I guess the fact that i love what i do so much i don't ever want to retire... i've often joked that i'll quit when they pull the pencil from my cold dead hands. For me Architecture is a journey through life and like bob says it's not until your mid life that your architecture becomes great. Architecture is a continual learning experience and each project you create as either an Architect or in my case a Building Designer you learn something, a small refinement or a big improvement, anything something and you notice it, you see your work evolve over a period of time. I doubt i'll ever perfect architecture and those who say they have are in my eyes fooling themselves for it is a lifestyle of constant learning and growing and a reason in itself why i will never want to retire... i enjoy the learning process.
I can make a decent living
Can i? i hope so. Being someone who runs a small business a decent living would be great. Running a small practice is a daily battle of ensuring everything is covered off where it needs to be. it's not an easy process but it is enjoyable and one day i'd like to know i've been able to make a decent living. just enough to do the things i want to do. Not up for being super rich or owning big mansions. give me my little abode any day of the week and a sketch pad to sketch on and i'm set.
So Bob thank you for putting your post up for it has inspired me to write this post and also inspired me to create a blog purely dedicated to my time studying to show those out there thinking of becoming an Architect just what goes into it. Like Bob i hope my answers to his questions have inspired you in some way. Be it taking each day in its stride and viewing the world in a different yet enjoyable way. Stop looking down look up and see what beauty the world has to offer through architecture and life.
Bye for now and i'll see you at Uni!