Sweet days of summer, the jasmine’s in bloom
July is dressed up and playing her tune
And I come home from a hard day’s work
And you’re waiting there, not a care in the world…
What does summer mean for an architect – a solo practitioner? What does summer mean for architecture?
I am a solo practitioner and through what some call madness, I’ve established my office in my house (a separate distinct area). This means a few things that I’m still perfecting more than twelve years later.
First of all, it has to do with family. I love architecture, but there are two special people that are infinitely higher in importance. One is my best friend who still makes my heart swoon, the other is the only person on Earth that calls me daddy and he’s my best bud.
My family is home for the summer and are often around during the day (my son is out of school, my wife is a teacher). This affords opportunities to do things we normally cannot do during the school year. We can do the occasional things that make life worth it. Chance lunch outings, breakfast with friends, take off early and just be together for day to day things and three meals a day not just dinner together.
Our routine has flexibility to it. Yes, I can bend my schedule from time to time, but then working extra in the evening or weekend doesn’t feel bad because of the experiences sprinkled throughout the days and weeks rather than compacted into one week or one vacation. We do go on vacation though.
Pennsylvania has a building season, even though we find ways around it. I find it satisfying to see my work being built which generally happens in warmer weather. It’s also nice not to be standing in snow at a job meeting.
This leads to starting new projects in the summer. Let’s say that measuring buildings in the cold is getting more difficult as life goes on. I enjoy not being distracted by cold weather when I’m doing tasks outside of the office.
Being with family, being out in the community and seeing buildings getting built, altered, renovated and improved makes me aware of the impact architecture has on people. It raises my awareness that architecture is for people and how it ‘works’ is ultimately most important. When I can observe people having positive experiences in various places, I look to see what the architecture contributed to it. Architecture can be a background element, but it’s very important to creating that environment so those moments can happen.
Summertime might allow people to be outside more (out of architecture) but the opposite is true. People move in and out more often so the link must work. Connections between interiors and the exterior can be most understood in the summer.
Now put down your phone, put down your tablet, get up from your chair and go outside. Be with someone not something.
Below are posts of what my friends are doing this summer. Please take time to read and interact with their posts today. #architalks
“Bob Borson – Life of An Architect
Architectural Bucket List“
“Matthew Stanfield – FiELD9: architecture
“Marica McKeel – Studio MM
Summer Break = Extreme Architecture“
“Jeff Echols – Architect Of The Internet
Summer Break and Aunt Loretta“
“Lora Teagarden – L² Design, LLC
Vacationing with an Architect“
“Jes Stafford – Modus Operandi Design
“Rosa Sheng – Equity by Design / The Missing 32% Project
#Architalks 10 – Give me a Break!“
“Michele Grace Hottel – Michele Grace Hottel, Architect
#Architalks 10 – “”summer break””“
“Amy Kalar – ArchiMom
“Stephen Ramos – BUILDINGS ARE COOL
Architect: Gift or Curse?“
“brady ernst – Soapbox Architect
The Education of an Agrarian Architect“
“Brian Paletz – The Emerging Architect
“Tara Imani – Tara Imani Designs, LLC
A Brilliant Summer Break“
“Eric Wittman – intern[life]
summer break [or] summer school“
Summer Break #ArchiTalks“
“Brinn Miracle – Architangent
13 thoughts on “summer break”
I want a follow-up to know what fun spur of the moment outings the family does!
We’ve gone to lunch at a local farmer’s market recently and Friday we’re having breakfast with friends. Our vacation this year will be broken up into three smaller trips. If it gets crazier, I’ll let you know.
…hmmmm maybe a spontaneous run to Indy for the day?
Summer is really about building relationships! Glad you have the flexibility to make every day part of your ‘summer break’.
I didn’t quite capture the importance of it until my son was born. Now, at the risk of professional opportunities, I make time for family. My faith and worldview are guiding that decision. Architecture will always be there.
My mom was a school teacher and having her home for the summers meant freedom. I would imagine that your son doesn’t even know yet (but he will) just how special it was to have both his parents available to him throughout the summer to “do stuff”. I know that I am envious of being able to spend found time in my days with my family.
Everyday I think about it with gratitude.
I knew a post that started out with Seals & Croft would be good. Great post Lee!
Did you go listen to the song? Thanks.
My parents were lecturers- that meant family vacations for summer! I really enjoyed and looked forward to that experience. Now.. my hours are flexible in the sense that I work early morning to early afternoon and get to be around for pool time, ice cream outings and all that. Those little moments have more fun packed into them than the planned big vacations..Have fun with your family!
Very cool. It sounds like a nice childhood. We never went anywhere as a kid – just played outside with other kids. My parents weren’t the play with the kids type. I’d like my son to remember playing with me outside (basketball yesterday) as well as remember our trips as a family. If that means working during the evening, it’s ok. We’re all in the same room together.
I can really relate to you post. Just today i went to a morning meeting at the local children’s museum and took my daughters with me. Rather than coming back and working in the afternoon, i spent it with my youngest at the library, lunch, and doing a scavenger hunt downtown. We had a great time. Now (1030pm), it is time to get some work done.
Sometimes work just has to wait.
Perhaps it’s not the best business plan, but a better life plan.