—To be an Architect is a hard job. A profession that requires you to choose only one among the three: social life, sleep, and good grades. But it is all worth it, because as a result of years in academic immersion then years again of training, it will all pay off once you have a steady career, but it’s not a guarantee, it would always depend one your dedication. It is a time taking, painstaking and soul consuming process that brings out, improves and combines the artist, the scientist, and the environmentalist in a person. That’s why allot of people would both respect and fear architects, mainly because of their great astuteness. But here’s the truth, that’s only a belief created by the Society that’s not entirely true, more like an urban legend, besides, the Society never really knows anything about true stories behind things.
As I was saying, Architecture is a tough course. Truth be known, according the Guinness Book of World Records, Architecture really is the hardest in this world. It’s harder than engineering, unlike everyone would have ever thought. We loose our social lives. Have you ever wondered why we, most of the time, see Architects marry another Architect? No, it’s not about they compliment each other, and no, it’s not about they’re a perfect match, it’s solely because Architects are only friends with other Architects, that’s just it. Hours of work are very long, it consumes allot of basic human needs: sleep, food, hygiene, and sleep again. What people think is we do projects after projects, but no, we do projects while doing another project before starting another new project. But behind all this, it’s not ALL about good design, you’ll have to market it, market yourself. Exciting,isn’t it? Just for the sake of everyone reading this, what is Architecture exactly? What makes it so complicated? Say, we ask a random person ”What is architecture?”, most probably his/her answer would range from houses to skyscrapers, essentially, that person’s answer would be about a building. It’s understandable that lay people would think this way. But for the lay people or the Society to understand architecture, let me explain briefly what we really are, what we really do, and why we do them. Though it sounds cliché, seriously, you must, because it’s heartbreaking for people not to know what we really do, and that all they know about us is just building buildings, it’s really hard on me to be underestimated like that.
First, we recognize the problem. Is it a house? A school? A resort? Etc. Next, we gather information by meeting our clients, we talk to them, understand what they want, and we know about their job, their spiritual beliefs, and even their psychology, we do this for us to be able to put ourselves in their shoes and have accurate data. Then, we visit the actual lot, study the ground the structure would sit on, is it sloping? Or is it near the coast? Thirdly, we brainstorm. This phase is the most bloody part. Because Architects don’t have a static mind, we’re all dynamic, we keep changing things, and in doing this we mess it up more sometimes. We have schemes after schemes of ideas. In this phase we take allot of planning considerations. For you to imagine this, we locate where winds would pass by, where the sun would rise and set, where possible sources of noise are, we even take into account superstitious beliefs. If you look at window right know, you wouldn’t wonder why was it placed there, would you? For us, it’s a very big deal, we contemplate about those simple kind of things. But the biggest question of them all is “Would it fit?” . Next, we develop the design solution. In this phase we polish our schemes, turn our pencil sketches to technical drawings, finalize even more the program of the building, think of the materials to be used and the likes. Fifthly, we ask for feedback. We ask not only our clients if the design is good for them, also some fellow architects, in case if a group project. If it’s OK, we will have the clients sign it then the projects good to go, which is very very seldom nowadays. If not, we enter the next phase, improve the design. Self explanatory, whatever the clients want to improve, we do them, but of course not always, because I’ve been told that there are clients that want you to do things that you know (as an architect) are terrible and not right to do. Anyways, after improving the design, we enter the final phase. Realizing the design. We develop construction drawings for engineers and their workers to follow, visit and supervise the construction site, take correctional measures in case something goes wrong, basically just staying with it until it’s finished and polished.
There you have it, we don’t just make buildings built. We also think of its occupants, their comfort to be exact. We control their lifestyle by use of our designs. We manipulate how the building would affect it’s environment and the society. Now you can picture how tough this course really is, can you not?
Enough with all this gloomy stuff, their will always be a way to cheer ourselves up.If you think life’s unfair, then that’s your problem. Not life, not your friends, not your family, not anyone, but you. “Just come to think of it, if life’s unfair for everyone, wouldn’t that make life fair? “ We also gain many, I mean many advantages from all this challenges.
Just knowing that you’re not alone is enough to keep going. It’s always important to keep company and choose them well. You’ll be there for each other on any extremes, happy or sad, depending on each other. A single column can’t support a building on it’s own.
All that we face has a reason. In reality, Architects are one of the very few persons educated and trained to find, explore, consider, analyze, and obsess over solutions for complex problems. We are trained to persistently believe only on things that are right. We are sensitive on every detail when it comes to design. We always come up with arguments to back up our philosophy. We are persistent to be right. We always move forward, we don’t let technology leave us behind, we adapt to its phase, we sometimes even go ahead of it. We are educated to innovate, to reinvent ourselves, to beat ourselves, to always be better than we were than yesterday. We are restless (literally, too), we always seek a more elegant representation of our collective passion. We evolve. We are programmed to don’t let anything go to waste, we advocate efficiency in every design, we create maximum result with minimum energy. We optimize all of nature’s doings, from rains to sewage waters. We let structure be one with its environment. We think green. We are both leaders and followers, we are flexible. We are critical when it comes to decision making, after all, that’s how we were raised. We are our own boss. We base our structures with mathematical calculations. We try different variables when it comes to design. We abide to a set of parameters. We sometimes experiment. We are scientists. We are spatial persons able to express his/her passion through design freely. We express our thoughts in the light of our design’s elegance. We are unique. We are artists. We are the ones that shape the form of human life, it’s process from beginning to end, from the moment babies were born (hospitals) to the moment where they become one with the earth (cemeteries). We propagate knowledge and understanding (schools). We inspire people to reach insurmountable heights (skyscrapers). Ultimately, we don’t house lives. We shape lives. We are Architects.
What we do is not a job, it’s a lifestyle. Immersing ourselves with the knowledge of controlling other’s lifestyles makes us one with that very thought. Dedicating our lives to something great and very valuable to the human race. To live with this noble cause is really something to be looked up to.
“Sometimes what you want you want isn’t always what you get, but in the end you’ll realize what you get is so much better than what you wanted.” I never really though if this course from the start. Nevertheless, this is my manifesto.
Real men don’t say things for no reason.
But I just can’t say upfront that I miss you, even if I really do. I know I don’t mean anything to you ‘nymore.