For as long as I have wanted to be an architect, I’ve also wanted to be a writer. As a child, I remember designing a house, drawing it up both in plan and elevation, and then writing a story to go along with it. Most stories were as simplistic as the buildings they went with and often only included select, but important, information such as the names of the people who lived in the house, how old they were, and what they liked to do for fun. Of course as I got older my designs got more complex and so did the stories that accompanied them. Architecture and writing have always been my creative outlets, in very different ways, but I have managed to find ways to merge my two passions. For years, architecture and writing went hand in hand – and has served as a perfect pairing of my passions.
It was over a glass of wine with a friend the other day that this topic, the topic of how we as architects are able to merge our passions into one profession, that I began exploring the idea that everyone must have something else that they are pairing with architecture. I have met so many people, both in graduate school and in the profession that did not choose architecture as their first profession. There is a fair amount of people in the industry that have a background in something else. Some of these backgrounds seem to fit better than others, construction management vs. psychology, but that’s the beauty of our profession – it attracts people from all different experiences and allows everyone to play in the same, big, sandbox of architecture.
Whether your passion is abstract art, construction, science, painting, photography, history, or psychology my guess is that you can find your own “perfect pairing” to go along with your architectural career. The depth and complexity in our profession allows everyone to have different educational backgrounds, different passions, different points of view about architecture and design. As a result, these different passions that everyone brings to the table make the profession of architecture so attractive, so complex, and so unique. Consider an architectural profession where everyone had the same education and background. It’s easy to imagine that world as boring, static and frozen in time – never moving forward and lacking critical thinking or exploration. I believe that it’s our unique experiences and passions that keep moving our profession forward and allow it to be ever changing.
A simple comparison is this – pairing the perfect wine with any dinner can make the dining experience unique. You can order the same steak dinner time after time but by pairing it with different wine selections you will not only get a different taste for the overall meal but you will ultimately get a new experience, a new flavor, a new creation. My challenge to you is this – take a look at the world around you, open your eyes to see what lies deep in your heart and find your true passion. Then, pair it with your love for architecture and see what new creation you discover.