Just asking. Because it’s way too easy to spend your day dealing with the demands on your time that come from the merry-go-round that is a workday. Architecture in practice often seems void of creative opportunity, but overloaded on demands to accomplish the impossible (and document it all). Some days, it’s all you can do to deal with the immediate. Look at your life right now from a view of 20,000 feet. Are you moving in a direction, or spinning in circles? Are you doing what you always dreamed you would or did you take a detour and not even notice?
Is your life’s work truly relevant or just a string of jobs? You are not a commodity. Have ideas and make buildings. Find your passion and get going on the work that matters to you.
We cannot assume that just because we are pleasing our client that we have actually done what is in the best interest of the community. Planning and design that promotes community should be an integral part of an architect's approach to a project:
• Is the public space truly a space, or just what's left over after the building's entr/access needs are met?
• Has meaningful open space provided?
• Is passing the project a good walking experience because of the quality and richness of the street scene that it provides?
• Has attention been given to layering of space to create a strong semi-public zone between the project and the neighborhood at large?
• Have the needs of the pedestrian been considered in terms of project scale, safety, orientation and approachability? Does the streetscape express the community culture?
• Is the community's identity reflected in the buildings appearance (consistent with existing architectural style, size and setbacks)?
As an architect, saying that you want a livable community is like a beauty contestant saying she wants world peace. No one is going to disagree that this is a worthy aspiration, but at the same time, what does it really mean? How do you go about achieving said lofty goal? Cities are messy things that have myriad problems reflecting the symbiotic relationship among urban design, public policy, and individual buildings. Our work is both the cause and effect of change.
When we were very young, we believed in magic, in the power of things, we certainly knew that architects designed buildings. We believed throughout an education process that immersed us in the heights of glory and depths of despair, sometimes in a single day. Now, in practice, in the soul-crushing grind of the corporate world, we lose our power, and we lose the magic too. Design is not the exclusive realm of a designated few, it is an identity waiting to be claimed. This is a wake up call to get out of your rut and find your real purpose. There are angels in the architecture- believe.