Dwelling on what I love being a part of and what purpose I serve in the profession of architecture…

Another post in the #Architalks blogging series.  #Architalks is organized by Bob Borson at Life of an Architect . A group of architects writes blog posts around a single theme or subject and posts them all at the same time, ensuring a good range of various takes on the subject or theme. Last month we wrote a post on SUMMER BREAK.  This time we write on the theme WHY AM I AN ARCHITECT?.  I hope you enjoy this as well as the other #architalks posts. Be sure to check out all the links below and search #Architalks on Twitter. 

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BACK to SCHOOL!

At this time of year, freshman are moving in for their year of college or seniors are planning on where they will be moving in after graduation. Naturally, this month’s topic appeals to those students on track to or curious about a career in architecture. Last year (Wow, we’ve done a YEAR of #ArchiTalks?!?!) we did posts called ASK THE ARCHITECT in hopes those students would read about and get some insight on what they were getting into.

Beginnings

This would be a much different #ArchiTalks post if it were framed by a different question…

“Why did I decide to become and architect?”

versus

“Why am I an architect?”

I’ve been fortunate and humbled to have covered the nature of my roots in architecture on the Novedge Blog. Perhaps that content will provide something to think about if the content here resonates with you. Now let’s steer toward the theme at hand.

Living the Dream

Architecture attracts people that want to change the world.  There are lots of professions, trades, and crafts that attract dreamers and change agents. Architecture is most definitely one of them. That given, it is important to understand there is a point, hopefully early in education, that the student realizes that there is a place in the real world that they must strike a balance between dreams and reality. In about year two of five or architecture school, I realized the large scale changes I wanted to see in the world’s built environ were only going to happen at a minuscule fraction of the whole and on a schedule that was way slower than in the dreams of change I envisioned. The whole world wasn’t going to become overnight like the projects I was reading about in World Architecture and in the Mississippi State S/ARC Library or like the ones I was designing in studio.

World Architecture Magazine from the studio days.

World Architecture Magazine from the studio days.

I also realized, in internship, it would be a while before I earned the stripes to start having an influence on the final designs the firm was building. None of this is meant to be negative about going into architecture; it is just an account of how the profession has been on my quest. Keep in mind that the harder you work, and the better you present yourself when it comes  to taking the first step in employment with a firm, the higher the chance you will find a place and a team that will cultivate your learning and provide more opportunities than another place or team. Also keep in mind that “dues” will always be “paid.”

My school projects tend to have organic forms and tensile structures, like this addition to a campus research center for fluid dynamics..

My school projects tend to have organic forms and tensile structures, like this addition to a campus research center for fluid dynamics.

Long Term Goals and Short Term Milestones

There’s a lot I have to be thankful for in life as an entrepreneur architect. The roller coaster’s ups far outweigh the downs. There is nothing like performing in a profession I love. Here are some aspects of being an architect that I most cherish and enjoy looking back upon.

  • Being a part of and serving the purpose of surviving architecture school, completing internship, achieving licensure, and ultimately pursuing entrepreneurship in architecture.
  • Being a part of and serving the purpose of making ideas into 3 dimensional realities.
  • Being a part of and serving the purpose of making the world better OR at least making it better looking and better functioning with respect to facilities, one client and project at a time.
  • Being a part of the AIA and serving the purpose of advocating for our profession.

That one is important. Volunteering is a valuable experience so look for those chances to give.  I promise that the powers of the universe will give back.  I am speaking from experience as currently, I am President of AIA Asheville. A while back I had the pleasure and privilege of going on The EntreArchitect Podcast with Mark R. LePage where we talked about my work at AIA Asheville, among other stuff.

AIA Asheville's logo has a prominent piece of our local architecture in the image.

AIA Asheville’s logo has a prominent piece of our local architecture in the image.

That effort has given back by…

  • Being a part of and serving the purpose of being a leader of a professional community and standing up as a voice for the profession.

I’ve had some excellent chances to represent architects to the local community, local students and in local press. It is immensely rewarding to serve in a position that lets me become an example. AIA NC Board retreats, AIA Grassroots Conferences, and one event after another where people express their support and appreciation for my efforts.

Discussing the state's AIA organization at the AIA NC Board retreat, 2013.

Discussing the states AIA organization at the AIA NC Board retreat, 2013.

In the NOW

I am proud to say the dream to reality balance that I’ve found continues to be inspirational and encouraging as the years grow many between the early days of wanting to change the world and the challenges and lessons in the present.  Changing lives is becoming more important as I realize “the world” and wanting to change it is a single view rooted in my own perception. The dream lies in focusing on the opportunities to volunteer within my hometown and excelling at projects for clients that choose to call on me.

Being a part of and serving the purpose of performing the best that I can, regardless of the challenges that lie ahead, is why I am an architect.

My entry to AIA's Bow Wow Haus event befitting a local animal rescue non-profit organization. Pictured with sponsor Maria Aponte.

My entry to AIA’s Bow Wow Haus event benefiting a local animal rescue non-profit organization. Pictured with sponsor Maria Aponte.

Take a look at these posts from all the architects participating in #Architalks … in no particular order:

Bob Borson – Life of An Architect (@bobborson)
Why I am an Architect (and not an Astronaut)

Marica McKeel – Studio MM (@ArchitectMM)
Why am I an architect?

Lee Calisti, AIA – Think Architect (@LeeCalisti)
why i am an architect

Lora Teagarden – L² Design, LLC (@L2DesignLLC)
#ArchiTalks: Why I am an architect

Michele Grace Hottel – Michele Grace Hottel, Architect (@mghottel)
“why i am an architect…”

Meghana Joshi – IRA Consultants, LLC (@MeghanaIRA)
Architalks: Why I am an Architect

Michael Riscica – Young Architect (@YoungArchitxPDX)
Why did you become an Architect?

Stephen Ramos – BUILDINGS ARE COOL (@sramos_BAC)
I like to make and create.

Brady Ernst – Soapbox Architect (@bradyernstAIA)
The Agrarian Pantheon

Brian Paletz – The Emerging Architect (@bpaletz)
I am what I am…

Sharon George – Architecture By George (@sharonraigeorge)
Why I am an Architect, when I could have been a Mathematician #ArchiTalks

Emily Grandstaff-Rice – Emily Grandstaff-Rice AIA (@egraia)
Why I Am an Architect