I woke up thinking about it again. It haunts me without warning. When you are an architect you can’t get away from architecture, especially if you own your own practice or have a position of great responsibility. [Now let me make it clear that I strive to keep life in balance. I am still crazy in love with my wife of 20 years and I absolutely adore our 10-year-old son more than you’ll ever know and I bow my heart daily to my Father in Heaven]. However, when you are an architect, your work is not something that you can always leave behind. It’s just who we are; it is part of our DNA. If you know an architect you should understand what I mean.

DNA contains all of the genetic instructions for a person or living organism in their cell structure. It’s the script from the Creator. I’ve explained before that architects are unique individuals. We are often misunderstood and I believe it’s largely because of our DNA. However, as I thought about this idea this morning, I started to think that these three letters could stand for other things.

doing nothing (but) architecture

do notice architecture

definitely not attorneys, accountants, astronomers, airplane pilots, acrobats…(you get it)

As I first mentioned, we think about architecture often…ok, most of the time. I went on an interview last night for a new small project, nothing to brag about, just nice people. When I woke up this morning, I realized I was trying to solve their design in my head and I haven’t even written up a proposal yet. Then I couldn’t get back to sleep. What’s up with that? Who does that? Yes…architects.

I sketch corner details in my sketch book before I go to sleep so I don’t mull them over as I try to fall asleep. It is rare that I shave in the morning without some part of my day ahead going through my mind…hopefully not so intense that I cut myself. I often sketch on placemats and receipts in restaurants. I’d like to think the built environment is (and could be) a better place because we’re so passionate about it. We make your world better.

We walk into buildings and generally look up because only architects (and a few other of you strange people) notice the ceilings and spatial qualities of the rooms we enter. Face it, we’re pretty weird people but very useful and creative as well.

don’t (k)now anything (ok…it’s phonetic all right)

did not answer

don’t need advice

I typically feel that I do not know anything about anything. I just hope after twenty-some-years I know something about architecture. Then I get a student present their work to me looking hopeful for something to help them get “unstuck” (is that a word…we use it often and if it’s not…I really need to stop…sorry). In that brief moment I feel like I don’t know anything. Fortunately something eventually comes to mind. Sorry to those of you who were waiting for me and I had nothing that day…or at least nothing useful. You’ve noticed I tend to ramble.

There is so much hype and talk out there about our roles, our purpose and what part we will play in the built environment of the future. There are far too many that didn’t survive the recession’s hurtful cuts. We try quietly and we try loudly to tout our value, our contributions and our abilities and why we should be involved in all times of construction.

I’m not sure how well we’re doing.

Yes, I’m busy right now and deeply grateful to those who trust me with their projects. Yet, we’re obviously more than just individuals with certain knowledge and skills. We are architects. We have many odd characteristics and we’re hard to take much of the time. I’d like to think we’re intensely lovable too. We also want to be needed and respected. We are working hard to earn that.

I just hope DNA never stands for…

don’t need architects

photos are from Paulus Maximus!’s photostream on Flickr (used under the Creative Common License)


14 thoughts on “d.n.a.

  1. Ted Rusnak says:

    The complexity of the dna structure also goes to the complexity of what we are and how and why we can do what we do.
    We are kinda cool.

  2. Ted Rusnak says:

    Oh, almost forgot. I stopped shaving a while back….takes too much time…..and, yeah, I kept cutting myself.

  3. Not to mention that double-helix form. It always manages to work itself into diagrams.

    Living in New York, the act of just about always looking up garners a lot of notice. But what can I (we) say… there’s so much to look at.

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