10 Things You Should Never Say to an Architect
01 “I think this building is ugly.”
Be advised that by saying this you shall open a major discussion (read lecture) why there is no such word as ugly when it comes to design. How “ugly” and “beautiful” are naive phrasings when describing a building and how correct comments should be about the connections of the building to its surrounding, the relationship to the time when it was built and the people using it and.. well, you probably already stopped really paying attention right? Note that you can skip my writing. You won’t be able to skip the live show, hence you are better off skipping the comment altogether.
02 “Isn’t an interior designer the same as an architect?”
Well, no, it’s not. Not that interior designers are any less worthy or meaningful than architects are since, in reality, it all comes down to an individual as to how efficient they are at their work. It’s just kind of like calling a New Zealander an Aussie. Learn your fruits.
03 “I am remodeling. Can you suggest some nice looking tiles for the bathroom?”
Ahh.. see, that’s a good question for your mom. If she isn’t an architect. In such a case, she would probably arrange a site visit and then lovingly inform you that there might be more of remodeling you should consider. We cannot just choose a tile. We will want to tear down at least one wall in the process. Or maybe move the sink. Now please don’t see this as an act of narcissism, it’s simply that we have probably seen a thousand more variations of bathrooms on either plans or sites and when it comes to it, we did go to school for this. What I mean to say is, we will probably give an elaborate answer. Unless your bathroom is perfect.
04 “How much do you make?”, usually followed by a “Why do you work so much for so little?”
Indeed, a salary for a working architect, at least at the beginning of our careers, is pretty sad. Considering how much you have to work for it, if you don’t love, you don’t end up doing it. I think the level of dedication to the profession and the sense of meaning we give to our designs are in many ways way higher than the monthly statements. For most, it is a sore subject hence I would avoid it. Or tell them you have heard about Atelier Abroad which deals with architects value in a fresh and unique way!
05 “You look tired.”
We probably look tired because we are tired. Not really sure where you are going with this..
06 “You shouldn’t stress about work so much.”
Well.. true. We shouldn’t. Still, you are in danger of opening a topic of up to seven to seventy-three reasons why there is no other way but to stress out at a certain point.
07 “You are too critical.”
Well, again, true. Since the first day of University we are taught through reviews and by doing so we got a chance to improve on a massive scale. Unfortunately, some took the professors review as criticism and have started using it daily in their lives. In such a case, you should defend the optimistic side. Then again, I urge everyone to take a second and asses whether the sentence was indeed a brute criticism or a valid review. As much as positivism is vital for a thriving both business and personal life, there is no virtue in naivety and ignorance either.
08 “I bet you are a great drawer.”
Despite the general belief, being an architect involves less and less requirement to know how to draw accurately. Of course, there are a couple of drawing classes at the University, but we do live in a technology era, meaning all of the floorplans, sections, building details and so on are now drawn on computers. Nowadays even diagrams and sketches are being made with computer programs. What we are really good at is the Adobe package- Illustrator, Photoshop, After Effects and Indesign. It’s not that we don’t draw, in theory, there is a bigger possibility that an architect draws better than a..pet mortician?, but even if so, it’s not required as much as “in the old days”. We are more familiar with the delete button than an eraser.
09 “Are you being sarcastic?”
Probably, yes. I have met and interacted with at least 300 architects by now. We tend to be a sarcastic bunch. But it’s all in good fun, always!
10 “Thanks for this.«
And so the mystery and awkwardness of when we can actually start charging our friends for our services commence. To learn more, see blog post »Charging your friends«. A quick summary of it though- if you won’t pay, I will think you are an ass, but it’s also my fault because I didn’t really ask.