This is what we do?

Completing my “Top-10 Architectural Lies” I was a bit concerned about the amount of sarcasm and cynicism injected into the essay. It seemed to be “overdone” even by my own insane standards of freedom (or should I say anarchy?). So to make sure people understand my true intentions I have written a Topic 10. This topic was quite out of line: no cynical mockery or poisonous parodies as in previous 9 statements  but  the raw emotions… really raw… I was hoping that the reader insulted by my “monstrous accusations” towards  the architectural honesty is going to read that “terrible Top-10” till the very end. And that’s where my real feelings for the architecture will be surprisingly exposed.

Therefore the moment I saw the following article from my online friend and colleague Jeremiah Russell I was happy… Nothing makes an author more happy than a perfect understanding of his quirky ideas by the intelligent readers*. Thank you, Jeremiah.

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This is what we do?

by Jeremiah Russel | Twitter @ronestudioarch

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Item #10 of my buddy’s latest blog post over at ArchiAlternative is the statement that architecture is what architects do.  He suggests this statement as an outright lie perpetrated by architects to their clients.  His retort to this bold faced lie, as he puts it, is:

Fuck, no! This is what we live and die for. This is architecture.

And I completely agree!  Please forgive the vulgar expletive, but honestly, sometimes, the F Bomb needs to be dropped for that little bit of extra emphasis, don’t you think? ;-)

And what is the key tenet to this statement?  The notion that an architect simply “does” architecture?  As a pure means to an end?  Or just in order to provide for his/her family?  I say bollocks to that.  Architecture is not merely what we do it is who we are, it’s our DNA, it’s our mitzvah (divine commandment for those not in the know), our calling….architecture just IS for an architect.  Some of us even say we are married to architecture and our wives are simply our mistresses.  This is more true than many of us may want to admit (let’s hope my wife doesn’t read this one).

And what do we get for this obsession, this calling, this mitzvah?  We get 5+ years of schooling where we learn almost nothing that will prepare us for the actual practice of architecture, 3+ years of internship under architects it will take us 15 minutes to figure out we don’t want to turn out like, and 5 years (or less if we’re very very lucky) to complete an ever changing battery of tests that tells very little about an architects’ competency as a designer or construction professional.  In short, we spend what are arguably the best 15 years of our lives struggling in a profession that has almost no respect for the “up and coming” in order to continue in a profession that our clients think is little more than a necessary evil, and we’ll continue to practice at a fraction of our ultimate worth simply because when we wake up in the morning with that shit eating grin on our faces, we know that there isn’t a single other thing on this planet we would want to be doing with our lives and it’s our privileged to practice each and every day sometimes at the expense of our own sanity and better judgment.

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image courtesy of treehugger.com

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To reiterate, once again:

This is what we live and die for – this is ARCHITECTURE.  Yeah baby.

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* By the way readers of the site’s Russian version didn’t get my irony for some reason. I was so surprised. My Russian readers never lacked a sense of humor. But this time they just killed me in their angry comments. They took my clownishness too literally. Hopefully once I translate Jeremiah’s essay they’ll show some mercy.

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Comments
3 Responses to “This is what we do?”
  1. Erin Russell says:

    I am the wifey of Mr. Russell and I so enjoyed your top 10! I need to do my own top 10 “Top 10 things that annoy the wives of architects” Number 1 being – HORRIBLY underpaid for so much talent!

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