Things They Don’t Teach at Architecture School – No.4 An Architect is like an Actor

I often think that being an Architect is a bit like being an actor, here’s why:

* There will be some projects that you’d love to get that you don’t. I’m frequently competing against other architects on quality and price, sometimes I get the job and sometimes I don’t. Think of it as a casting call for designers, sometimes you get the ‘part’ and sometimes you don’t.

* You’ll see other ‘architectural designers’ do a project that obviously will think you could have done better. I’m frequently cycling around and seeing the end results of projects I have seen and quoted for; needless to say I could have done a much better job 😉

* Your life will be divided into the ‘nice stuff’ and the stuff that puts food on the table. Take Michael Caine for example, along with the likes of ‘Educating Rita’ there will be a whole host of films like ‘The Swarm’ and ‘Beyond the Poseidon Adventure’ that put bread on the table.

It would be lovely if all architects were award winning and could pick and choose their jobs and clients but unfortunately (especially in today’s economic conditions) this isn’t the case for most designers.

My golden rule is that whatever the job I take on on, I will do my upmost to to the best possible solution for that project,client and budget. Even if that means that in an ‘ordinary’ project I will include a lovely gem somewhere within it. I always start a project with the premise that if the project/site/house was mine and I’m putting myself in the clients shoes – What would be the best possible solution that I would like to have , you then hope that the client has the same idea.

* You’re going to be out of work for long periods. Construction is a cyclical industry; there will be peaks and troughs- at the moment Ireland is going through what is probably the worst economic disaster it has ever known. And because of this work will become scarce and may dry up completely. The analogy to an actor is similar except different; in acting if your face doesn’t fit you won’t get the part, in architecting even though you are doing the same thing as you’ve always done – work will get quieter, either way you’re out of work. Luckily (fingers crossed at the moment), I’ve quite a few projects on the go, the trick with being an architect is getting a variety of different jobs that are at different stages; some at design, some at planning and some at construction/on site for example.


Comments as always welcome…

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