81 Reasons Why There Has Never Been a Better Time to Be an Architect February 17, 2010Posted by randydeutsch in architect types, books, career, collaboration, employment, optimism, possibility, reading, technology, the economy.
Tags: Amazon, Aqua, architect, believe, design thinking, educator, inspiration, social networking, transferable skills, Wordpress
I am an out of work architect. And the prospects for attaining full-time employment doing what I have had the privilege to do on a daily basis for the past 25 years aren’t promising. But despite the grim statistics I can still wholeheartedly say with conviction – and some knowledge of architectural practice and history – that there is no better time than right now to be an architect. Period. Employed, underemployed or unemployed.
How can I possibly say that? Because 1. Today, while architects may not ever again be so-called Master Builders, an individual architect working alone, if necessary, can virtually do the work of an entire firm. It is because of this that there has never been a better time than today when an architect – with imagination, dedication, discipline and hard work – can do whatever she dreams up, virtually anywhere in the world. It is for this reason – and the 80 other reasons that follow – that I am convinced that there is no better time in history for an architect to be alive than right now.
How this works: I gave myself an hour – in lieu of writing in my gratitude journal. Any such list is going to be personal, partial and impartial, and inevitably idiosyncratic – but that’s what makes it unique and why you ought to give yourself an hour to see what you come up with. Create your own list of 81 Reasons Why There Has Never Been a Better Time to Be an Architect. Once you do, feel free to share it. Because right now more of us need a reason.
3. Aggregate sites such as Alltop (“aggregation without the aggravation”) and Google Reader allow you to simply and easily create your own miniature version of the internet that matches your interests, preferences and needs – and best of all, does the hard work of gathering all the pertinent data and waits for you when you have time. With Alltop you have the proto-creative and mercurial Guy Kawasaki to thank. You can almost live at ArchNewsNow.
4. Architects today have a rare opportunity to use the skills – transferable skills – that they have picked-up in their education to put to use not only in practicing architecture but in any number of related and even non-traditional fields.
5. Severely underappreciated Andy (Andrew) Pressman FAIA has done more over the years to elucidate the intricacies of architectural practice than just about anyone. No one writes more clearly and expertly.
6. Blogging – writing an online journal – especially on sites such as WordPress, has never been easier to learn and master. One more great creative and expressive outlet for the architect, especially in times when the opportunity to design and built is lessened, such as now.
7. http://archinect.com/ Need I say more?
8. Architects today have an opportunity to get involved and redefine their profession – what the AIA means for them. Heated comments and discussions on this very subject are occurring at this very moment in LinkedIn group discussions.
9. To know that you are alive, living and working at a time when Ava J. Abramowitz and her quint-essential latest edition of her Architect’s Essentials of Contract Negotiation is just sitting there waiting to be read and re-read – is almost enough.
10. The world of technology has never been less about the hard fact of technology than right now – and more about human factors such as improved interfaces. A balance is being struck today between technology and emotion – especially in the world of design. High tech – but also high touch.
11. Architects really don’t need that much food to live on. I am a long time practitioner of what is called Calorie Restriction or CR. Also a vegan – you can live quite well and deliciously on 1200 calories a day.
12. There has never been a time where more professionals are willing and able – and have multiple means – to share their insights and experience with others.
14. Where we live, north of Chicago, you can head into the yard anytime in winter and build a snow shelter – like the one in Spike Jonze’s Where the Wild Things Are.
18. The fact that you can design a building – any building – out of thin air, everyday, in 3D – using a free downloadable program such as SketchUp, and with a few simple clicks – voila – you have an animation.
19. Architectural reference books covering the entire range of experience an architect needs to know are available, for free, in your firm’s library, waiting to be opened and perused.
21. Every week The Sunday NY Times business section is available to you for free – learn what your future bosses look for in a candidate during a job interview
23. Bookstores such as barnes noble with comfortable chairs to sit with a cup of coffee and open pad of paper and reinvent yourself – or design a strategy for your next career stage.
24. You can easily get lost spending hours perusing informative – and entertaining – discussion sites such as a forum at www.areforum.org on any number of topics critical to your understanding and education no matter where you are in your career.
25. There is no better use of your time right now than to brand you or re-brand your firm. The application of a business marketing concept – branding – on (link to www.di.net for branding articles) see Tom Peters, The Brand Called You in Fast Company.
26. Architects have multiple ways to have an influence on the built environment. Architects have the opportunity today to work for their clients – as well as contractors in a construction role.
27. BIM technology allows architects to create virtual versions of their buildings before they get built. This would have been simply inconceivable at any other age – and has been in the minds and dreams of some theorists for several decades.
28. Architects have an opportunity today – unlike that of any other time – to define and redefine their role and identity – their place within the profession – who you are and who you want to be and how you want to best serve your profession, community and world.
29. When there’s a blow-up in business, even on TV, such as the recent conan o brien escapade, you can bet within 24 hours it will be turned into a business case study with lessons learned at HBR online that even an architect can appreciate and learn from.
31. There is nothing positive about climate change global warming energy except the fact that architects are among those that can do something about it – is many different way. Just apply your design thinking abilities to come up with solution and ways to address these and other environmental issues. Architects can start by coming up with the electric cars equivalent of buildings.
32. It is a great time to be an architect, but admittedly, having a working spouse helps.
33. There has never been a better or more important time for design – the term, the subject, the act, the activity has never been more popular, with more people aware and appreciative
34. This is the year of Design Thinking. Architects have the chance right now to apply the design process that they use to design places and buildings on the very businesses that they run and work with – whether for themselves or for others.
35. Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) promises to help architects and others in the design and build process and team accomplish all of the goals they have dreamed about but up to now have frustratingly been unable to achieve.
37. This is the year of Building Information Modeling (BIM) – make or break for architects. No better time to prove ourselves and what we can accomplish – together.
38. Architects have the opportunity through the application of BIM and IPD to regain their status as master builders
39. Today it has never been easier to be a subject area expert. Have Google Alerts send you the latest information as it is created – or on a daily basis – on the area or subject of your choice.
40. Today’s workplace offers greater flexibility for working architects in terms of location, time, schedule, role, titles and variety of work.
41. It is good to know that in these difficult times architect, technologist, writer, educator Phil Bernstein FAIA is around to clearly, articulately, cogently and without pulling any punches, explains IT ALL for you.
43. No better time than now to work collaboratively, cooperatively – especially with the tools we’ve been given.
45. When natural disaster occurs – like the recent earthquake or new orleans – architects are the canaries in the coal mine, often the first ones to gather, form a coalition such as http://architectureforhumanity.org/, and apply their thinking like architects to help solve seemingly unsolvable problems
46. Like doctors without borders , architects of late have started working – and thinking – globally. The world is truly their oyster. With such successful and influential organizations as Architecture for Humanity, there really ought to be an Architects without Borders.
47. Out of work or even underemployed, architects understand more about the economy and economics now than at any other time in history. unemployment means there is more information at their disposal – and fingertips – they can no longer be singled out for not having a grasp of business, as so many like to complain.
48. Google Earth, Google maps. Need I say more?
49. The internet. It is quite possible we’re taking this miracle for granted.
52. Two words. Maybe one. DesignIntelligence. www.di.net A true gift to all those who visit and spend time in their rarified and thought-leaderly environs.
53. Being an architect in itself is pretty amazing. But sometimes having a dog helps.
54. Paul F. Aubin makes learning Revit almost easy and always enjoyable. I keep a copy of his handy-dandy plastic-coated coursenotes in my car to read when exercising at the gym. Find his books and services at his site or right at your fingertips discounted on Amazon
55. You live at a time when you are free to choose the lifestyle you wish to lead and are unlikely now more than any other time to be punished for it
56. There are so many different ways to read a book today, kindle just to name one
58. You can take your work with you and go mobile almost anywhere with all you need to be productive
59. We live in a time when you have to be savvy about marketing – of yourself, and your firm – and need to be cognizant at all times on the lookout for opportunities to promote
61. Tocci’s Virtual Construction Manager Laura Handler and her public musings at Bim(x)
62. meditation is available to you for free almost anywhere at any time – even for 3 minutes a day – what a difference it makes. A reminder of silence, stillness, the sacred amidst our daily lives
63. Being an architect is a thoroughly fulfilling experience. But not sharing a house with teens helps.
64. Yoga (self-explanatory to those who partake)
65. We have a better understanding today of what motivation means (see Dan Pink’s Drive) what really drives us to perform and compete and excel and get up in the morning
66. mac os x
67. Billy Joel said it best in New York State of Mind: It was so easy living day by day, Out of touch with the rhythm and the blues, But now I need a little give and take, The new york times, the daily news… The wall street journal ain’t so bad either, even if you can’t sing to it.
68. Listen to music or podcasts or audio books on your iPods
69. Opportunities for personal development are legion, are everywhere, are ubiquitous.
71. Technology is becoming more widespread and at the same time never easier to use. Technology’s user interface has never been friendlier or more accessible to more people.
72. The touchscreen makes your life – and work – so much easier, more fluid and enjoyable.
73. It has never been easier to be informed about a topic of interest, breaking news or of crucial importance to you. Have Google alert you of the latest information as it arises.
74. Travel as always been important to architects. Going places has never been easier and user-friendly – or less expensive – than it is now.
75. It has never been easier for architects to draw attention to their work – or to their thoughts and ideas. Sites and online services such as Technorati – which has supplied tags (keyword or short phrase that writers assign to articles to describe or identify the content) planted throughout this post to draw attention in a very loud and busy internet and world and more importantly for you, helps people searching for a particular type of content to find articles using those tags.
76. Architects can spend available downtime – or free time – learning any number of new skills by way of watching video tutorials.
77. There is no better way to learn how to present information clearly, powerfully and impactfully than to watch a pro do it. TED Conference videos are certainly great to watch for their subject matter. But they are also great to watch to pick upsome needed presenting tips.
78. Information has never been freer – and more readily available. Learn the The TED Commandments here.
79. Wireless networks – slip into a Caribou café iTouch in hand and voila –– instant email messages
80. You can create a website featuring yourself, your interests, your work, your area of focus – your sole place in the world you can control and call your own
81. An architect today needs to know a lot. For starters, building codes, materials, emerging green technologies, zoning, site planning, passive heating/cooling, LEED, structures, MEP, day-lighting, construction methods, Lighting, Estimating, Fire protection, place-making and as always, design. Admittedly a lot for any one individual to learn let alone master – it has never been easier to learn it, and with the dedication – and help readily available from others – to master it. It is only up to you.