dear future architects

Mr Glasses Cabbages

words of wisdom :: friendly advice :: aphorisms :: warnings cautions :: who knows?

If you don’t listen to others who came before you, you’ll make their same mistakes. One of mine is on this post – I didn’t listen to the one about editing. I have 100 comments, questions and suggestions here. You’ve been warned, so you can leave now or read to the end.

  1. you will practice differently than we do today, or at least how I do today
  2. don’t ignore the legacy of how we got here
  3. be an architect, don’t just do things that architects do
  4. there are more important things than architecture
  5. not everything needs to be digital – you are human, use your hands
  6. if architecture isn’t important to you, don’t do it; go find out what is important to you – you’ll be happier
  7. promote the profession first, then promote yourself
  8. learn to draw…with a pencil on paper, not because you need to be an artist, but you need to think and you need to communicate in person
  9. your clients won’t be as impressed that you can make digital images as they are that you can draw on a napkin in front of them…while you’re speaking
  10. make digital tools more usable, more human, more intuitive
  11. be ready to explain why it is there
  12. don’t be preachy…be a leader
  13. don’t be silent, don’t be loud, be heard
  14. allow people to disagree with you
  15. people make decisions from their values…their values are not yours…it’s ok
  16. if you want people to be tolerant of you, you must be tolerant of them, regardless
  17. cubes are good, start there
  18. a leader is different than a boss
  19. smile at everyone
  20. practice good hand lettering skills, it’s our legacy
  21. your handwriting does matter; you’ll need to write out something someday
  22. people are watching you; give them something to applaud
  23. get involved in your community, give and volunteer
  24. learn how to put a building together – all of it
  25. learn how to edit
  26. give critique and accept critique
  27. think critically
  28. don’t tell them how it functions, tell them how it works
  29. go get coffee and breathe…take a long walk on a warm day
  30. there is no form or function, there’s architecture
  31. what you like now will seem trivial and trendy in twenty years
  32. build something with your own hands, get dirty, scrape your knuckles
  33. power tools are really cool; learn to use them
  34. you will face new issues but have to contend with old ones
  35. fix what we broke, learn from what we fixed
  36. old buildings are beautiful…find a way to keep it before you demolish it
  37. write new history; learn history too
  38. concrete will always be beautiful
  39. you may never see the change you effect…keep going
  40. ask the right questions
  41. things will change rapidly but some things will never change
  42. some things should never change
  43. futuristic architecture will always be more radical than current architecture
  44. not everyone wants things to change; deal with that
  45. find better questions
  46. learn which structures have real character and keep them
  47. reuse what we have, adapt it, modify it, but respect it
  48. understand that many people like suburbia, find out why
  49. don’t criticize them, make it better, teach them, show them alternatives
  50. understand why people like rural environments
  51. learn how to plant a garden
  52. be adept at building codes
  53. everyone can benefit from architecture, how can you show that?
  54. never make excuses, just apologize and stop talking
  55. learn how to sketch upside down
  56. being an architect should fill you with pride that comes out as humility
  57. get your license…no more excuses…none
  58. stop complaining, start doing
  59. be articulate
  60. carry a sketchbook…everywhere
  61. have friends that are not architects
  62. get to know people just because they’re people
  63. be mature, grow up, take responsibility
  64. own it, then repent or celebrate
  65. people like bricks, it keeps the wolf away
  66. be authentic, design authentic, use authentic materials
  67. no one owes you anything – go earn it
  68. the best things in life come after years of hard work
  69. it is worth it; it does matter – someone will eventually notice
  70. why is that there? if you don’t know, get rid of it
  71. who cares that it’s not your fault, move on
  72. find more than one solution – the first one is either brilliant or terrible
  73. accept that not everyone cares as much as you do, but find out why
  74. passion is your fuel even more than coffee
  75. eat healthy and exercise in your 20’s
  76. if it isn’t your best, do it again
  77. be patient, this will take a very long time
  78. find out what you don’t know, don’t accept that you don’t know
  79. learn how to detail really well, be good at creating details clearly
  80. put on a black shirt and pants and save your creative energy for your work
  81. a Sharpie marker will always help you find a solution
  82. sketch everyday
  83. master something
  84. who cares if your feelings are hurt, did it challenge your thinking?
  85. use a pencil or pen to think…it’s quicker and you can do it anywhere
  86. don’t be that architect that contractors and clients complain about to me
  87. find the right tool for the job…it might be a computer, a laptop or your phone or a tape measure (or paper clips, gum and a pack of matches)
  88. understand why people are resistant to change
  89. the sun got the man to take off his coat, not the wind…live that
  90. don’t get jaded, it’s supposed to be hard
  91. I doubt you’re ready to have your own firm – you’ll know when it’s right
  92. if you’re not going to pursue being good at this, go do something else that you can be good at doing
  93. make them value the profession
  94. no one else can do what you can do
  95. listen to music from your parent’s era and imagine them at your age
  96. seek out someone who is good and study them
  97. read
  98. study
  99. practice
  100. think


Please read what my friends have to say to future architects. I’m sure it’s worth reading. #Architalks

Lora Teagarden – L² Design, LLC (@L2DesignLLC)
Dear Future Architects: 3 letters

Jeremiah Russell, AIA – ROGUE Architecture (@rogue_architect)
future architects: #architalks

Jes Stafford – MODwelling (@modarchitect)
Dear Future Architect, Listen Here

Keith Palma – Architect’s Trace (@cogitatedesign)
Dear future architects, are you credible?

Michele Grace Hottel – Michele Grace Hottel, Architect (@mghottel)
“Dear Future Architects,”

Stephen Ramos – BUILDINGS ARE COOL (@sramos_BAC)
Dear Future Architects: Don’t makes these 4 Mistakes

brady ernst – Soapbox Architect (@bradyernstAIA)
Dear Boy in the Plastic Bubble,

Michael LaValley – Evolving Architect (@archivalley)
Dear Future Architects, Be Authentic

Marica McKeel – Studio MM (@ArchitectMM)
Dear Future Architects: 4 Perspectives

Evan Troxel – Archispeak Podcast / TRXL (@etroxel)
Dear Future Architects

Greg Croft – Sage Leaf Group (@croft_gregory)
Dear Future Architect,

Meghana Joshi – IRA Consultants, LLC (@MeghanaIRA)
Dear Future Architects..

Michael Riscica – Young Architect (@YoungArchitxPDX)
Dear Future Young Architects… Please Quit Screwing Around!?!!

Enoch Sears – Business of Architecture (@businessofarch)
Dear Future Architects: A Confession

Bob Borson – Life of An Architect (@bobborson)

Jared W. Smith – Architect OWL (@ArchitectOWL)
Dear Future Architects…

Jim Mehaffey – Yeoman Architect (@jamesmehaffey)
Dear Future Architects…

dear future architects

6 thoughts on “dear future architects

  1. I enjoyed reading this article Lee, there were items that I had to stop and ad to my list of things to ponder…I do have to work on #’s 76, 77 & 79 and put them in check, then I’ll be able to enjoy #29 better…

    1. I’ve found the answers to most of these within the 100 themselves. The key to #79 is also found in #5,8,24,32,60 and 82…as well as #100. Thanks for reading and sharing.

Please leave a reply, and consider sharing this with a friend.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.