eight foot ceiling


A thought came to me as part of my preparation to teach my Sunday school class. I typically teach a three-month long class once a year, sometimes more. In our current material, pastor and author Mark Batterson, in writing about spiritual matters, discusses limits we place on ourselves from (incorrect) assumptions we make.

Not to be distracted from more important matters of teaching about God, my mind eventually went to the practice of architecture (not while I was studying or preparing…seriously). For the purposes of this blog, we will just talk about architecture.

As stated in the past, my idealistic nature let me go down this path again with my (cracked) rose colored glasses exploring the assumptions we make as architects. Are assumptions keeping us from flourishing, succeeding, or seeing architecture thrive? You can pat me on the head now and smile. Give me a cookie and tell me to sit quietly.

I am too old.

I am too young.

I am not ready.

That is not how we typically do things.

No one will ever believe me.

The boss doesn’t listen.

I can’t afford it.

I’m too tired to care or keep fighting.

I am too frustrated.

What is the point?

It will not make any difference.

The client will never go for that.

The general public doesn’t want that.

The industry is not in favor of that.

They’re just going to say no.

I often have online conversations with architects where many of them have some sense of a defeatist attitude. It’s too easy to give up. Architecture as a career lasts a long time.

What are your assumptions?

Have you been in a small room so long with an eight-foot ceiling that you can’t see beyond it? Am I only an idealist and a dreamer? All of the statements, all the frustrations, all of the excuses – I’ve heard them, I said them, I felt them, I’ve lived them. That was just last week.

It is time to step outside of your little room to the vastness and ask yourself what assumptions do you need to eliminate?


photo credit: Surreal Night via photopin (license)

eight foot ceiling

11 thoughts on “eight foot ceiling

  1. wmello1934 says:

    Any of your list of negative feelings (biases) can be reversed when expected.
    They are the perfect list during the “client interview”.
    They are their bias.
    Bias is not a negative it is an entry level to the client.
    The pre-client’s sincerity to your interview is your key to go forward to be either an Architect or a Draftsman.
    The room you chose to go into is of your soul.

    1. Bill, that’s a great point. It’s a bit like anyone’s weakness is often their strength taken to the extreme. Good insight. This list is a culmination of things I heard or read over the past few weeks.

  2. dwmarc2014 says:

    Ask yourself: Are the defeatist attitudes among young architects in part caused by their poor education, which got them out of synch with the real world? “A” schools typically offer a good technical foundation, but little perspective on US history, & probably nothing on American Studies. You can’t change the world without understanding it first! This is sent not as a nastygram to a well-meaning teacher- more as a concern which I spent much of my career rectifying.

    Dr. John put it best: “Your edumacation ain’t no hipper than what you understand.”

    1. Actually you misinterpret my statement. I never said the architects were young. I find the feeling in all age groups – more so in more experienced architects who might have given up, stop believing or stopped trying. The young architects haven’t given up yet. Many of them don’t know how long it takes and have unrealistic expectations. School isn’t the problem here, even though it has room to grow and improve.

  3. Larry Wolff says:

    From experience, there is nothing better in architecture than that which has no ceiling – an eternal perspective. Well said Lee, and thank you for the lesson.

  4. Reading this (wonderful and even whimsical) post, Lee, I wonder: have you taken the Enneagram test and, if so, are you by chance a #4? If you haven’t taken it, this question will seem bizarre. But if so, you may know why I ask. Cheers, brother.

  5. dwmarc2014 says:

    This isn’t rocket science. In my experience architects over 40 who are not assoc, partners or principals, or on a faculty, can have a rough time. Obviously a 6-year recession makes it worse. Count any blessings that come your way!

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