Finding Your Passion (again)

This weekend, while packing up our apartment in anticipation of our future move across town I came upon several dusty old boxes that contained what I would call “Heather’s Undergrad Experience in a Box”.  I took some time to look back at the memories I had created several years ago.  One of my favorite things I found was a big box filled with AIAS paraphernalia from my year as Chapter President at CU Boulder.  Pictures, name tags, conference booklets and a sketchbook are all a present day reminder of what my life was like back then.  While flipping through my old sketchbook I couldn’t help but notice an underlying passion for design on each page.  This sketchbook contained notes from different conferences I attended that year, meeting minutes from our AIAS meetings, my personal design ideas and of course sketches for my final studio project. Each page was filled to the edge with writings, scribbles and sketches, not a single space of white went untouched. At that time I was young, passionate about design and I had every intention of changing the world by creating inspiring environments that touch peoples’ lives day after day.

Today my sketchbook is full of notes taken at our latest project team meeting: Deadline Friday, Don’t forget about the Interior Elevations, Tag all equipment on plan and elevation, Pick up redlines…. There is no sign of the passion that once was, just a lot of white space on each page.

When did my passion for architecture become a “To Do” list?  When did I start leaving white space on each page in my sketchbook? And when did my sketchbook become a yellow legal pad?

Sigh, where did all that passion go?

I remember sitting in a studio class and someone telling me that whatever I thought I knew about architecture would go out the window once I experienced the “real world” of a firm.  I, like most of you I’m sure, sat there thinking “Yeah, right.  I’m going to make a difference”.  I hate to admit it now, but who ever that person was, well, they were right.  The “real world” of architecture is much different from an undergrad studio. But the question I asked myself this weekend was, does it have to be?  Does working in the “real world” have to be that different?  Why can’t the same passion, the same excitement, the same principles still apply?

I understand that there is more at stake in the real world. Real life budgets, schedules, deadlines and collaboration are much different from what we experience in school, but wouldn’t it make all those deadlines, budget cuts and collaborative meetings that much more enjoyable if we all brought to the table the passion we each have (or had) for our profession? What if each of us took a moment today to remember why we choose architecture as our career and then carried it with us for the rest of our day, week, month and year? What would we change about our daily routines?  Would we trade in our yellow legal pads for blank white pages in a sketchbook?  Would be fill those blank pages with our thoughts, ideas, scribbles and sketches?  Would we find our passion, again?

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