No seriously.. why am I doing this?
So, I’ve been giving it a lot of thought lately. It might be because I’m stressing out about what I’m going to say in my presentation at the AIA conference this year. But, more than likely it’s just a first of the year “hey, lets re-evaluate my entire life” kind of thing. Let’s just say that January is not my favorite month of the year. It’s like 31 days of cold….hard….truth.
in that order.
So, why should I (or any Architect for that matter) be blogging?
So far, I have no idea. But, I can tell you why I started it:
In January of 2009 I was laid off from my job. After months of trying to find work, I just stopped looking. I started my own firm and told myself I’d have better luck on my own. I know… That’s the best “I started my own company” story ever, right? I think Bill Gates has a similar origin tale. I’m really awesome. It’s like my company motto is “meh“.
So there I was, February(ish) of 2009. Broke. scared. lonely. an entrepreneur of the clueless. et al.
I told myself that a blog might be a way to drum up business. Or at least it couldn’t hurt. So why not. So I started it. I had been grabbing a coffee with people as a means to “market” my new firm. So, I thought of the name “coffee with an architect”. I had visions of lines forming outside the cafe full of anxious hopeful business prospects craning their necks to see over my sketch book. I wrote “articles” about “architecture” and tried to position myself as the expert in my field. Because that’s what you’re supposed to do. I wrote about high-density housing and my efforts to reverse the effects of urban sprawl with thoughtfully designed mixed-used lifestyle centers.
Then I eye-mother-fucking-rolled and hit the delete button.
Turns out, I feel like a complete tool when I talk about Architecture. I hate “marketing”; or “pitching” myself; or “positioning myself as the expert”. It all makes me feel… a little dishonest really. So I stopped.
And, I started writing whatever came to mind, in stream of conscience rants about my own fears, and my own issues with the profession, and my own awkward relationship with Architecture.
Architects always seemed like the cool kids to me; all tall and slim and handsome in their black jeans, reeking of confidence. In fact, you might call it arrogance. Architects are stylish, elegant, precise, confident.
And the truth is… I never really fit into that crowd.
I’ve always been good at architecture; even occasionally great at it. But I’ve never fit the mold. I was the awkward kid in back corner of the studio. And, I guess I still am.
So, I started writing about the profession as I’ve seen it, and experienced it over the last 20 years; from the edges, from the back corner. I started underlining the parts of the profession that don’t fit with me. And, I started making fun of it, because if I don’t make fun of it, I’ll just start crying, and that’s not going to be good for anyone.
There’s a very clear idea of what an architect is. You know him:
think about architects for a minute.
can you picture them?
right…that’s not me.
But, here’s the thing. I AM an Architect. Maybe I don’t fit the mold. Maybe I’m not what you expected. Maybe I don’t fit the stereotype. But I AM an Architect. And, my guess is, that most of us don’t fit that stereotype at all. My guess is that we, architects, are a diverse group of varying passions and interests. My guess is, that the majority of us were the awkward kid in the corner of design lab. My guess is, I’m closer to the “normal” of what the profession is than whatever pompous ass you were picturing a minute ago when I asked you to picture an architect. My guess is that most of us are shorter than that. And, my guess is, that most of us are more complicated and contradictory and intensely awesome than any 2 dimensions cut-out of an architect with a capital “A” that we can think of. My guess is that my version of awkward is the average, not the exception.
My guess is “Architects” are… a lot like me really.
gawd help us.
Right, so why do I blog?
Probably because I’m unemployed.
that photo that’s not me is from infomatique’s photostream on Flickr (used under creative commons license)