Working out of the Box is a series of features presenting architects who have applied their architecture backgrounds to alternative career paths.
Are you an architect working out of the box? Do you know of someone that has changed careers and has an interesting story to share? If you would like to suggest an (ex-)architect, please send us a message.
Archinect: Where did you study architecture?
Magnus Hierta: Pasadena City College, SCI-Arc, The Bartlett
At what point in your life did you decide to pursue architecture?
Well there was no 'moment' per se, but rather a slow realization that I loved buildings. It sort of dawned on me during the year after high school that I was just sort of bumming around. But, since hindsight is so clear, I can look back and see that my interests in childhood were all related to architecture and making.
Style frame for Espn on Direct TV
When did you decide to stop pursuing architecture? Why?
Pretty much the summer I graduated from SCI-Arc. Honestly, I hated the idea of paying back student loans for the rest of my life. I wanted more out of my career than a slow painful scrapping to make ends meet for the sake of architecture. Some people probably don't mind doing that, as long as they are doing what they love. I guess I didn't want to risk a chance of being unhappy with what I was doing because of money. The humor in it all is that now I look back and kick myself for moving on. Architecture is the 'one that got away'.
Style frames for MLB's Allstar game on Fox
Describe your current profession.
MH: Currently I work in the motion graphics / broadcast design industry. I am an Art Director at a medium sized motion graphics company. Motion graphics is basically that, graphics in motion. It encompasses everything from logo endtags to fully graphic commercials, film title sequences, network television branding packages or even music videos. It's pretty exciting and fast paced. Full projects average about 5-6 weeks. And the ultimate goal of every job is to make it look good and exciting and so forth. Eye candy basically. The downside is that there isn't much critical thinking going on about concepts. The effort goes into the polish rather than the big idea.
Style frames for a Direct TV rebrand
What skills did you gain from architecture school, or working in the architecture industry, that have contributed to your success in your current career?
The best skills I retained from my architecture training are probably the understanding of spacial relationships and attention to detail. A lot of the studio classes where design and ideas were studied and developed helped shape the way I approach projects now.
Style frames for the Wired Science show package
Do you have an interest in returning to architecture?
Yes. I would love to be able to design buildings again. I think about it daily. I still sketch out ideas for spaces and places. But... it seems further out of reach every day.
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