If you didn't have to work, how would it change Architecture for you?


If you didn't have to work, how would it change Architecture for you?  Would you still be in this field?  What would you do with your degree, knowledge and experience?  

I'm thinking of pursuing a three-year m.arch degree (for those with a non-architecture BA).  However, I'm quite concerned about how everyone hates the realities of being an architect.  I understand the disconnect between school and real life and also the very low pay combined with long hours.  

Perhaps I can escape these pitfalls since my husband works and I don't have to?  Rather than a salary or job, I am looking for something that gives my life meaning.

What would you do in the field of Architecture, if you didn't have to earn a living?

Jul 19, 14 9:51 pm

There's a lot of numbers and fear-mongering here but there's a whole bunch of people you never hear from. Who might be unemployed and even grumpier but also employed and not spending their time on here. Many other sectors face unemployment and face it, people who aren't doing so well are most likely to be online venting. Them and students or novices looking from the outside.

You're looking through a very narrow field of vision. And asking questions that's bound to receive one kind of answer. The only one that matters is the last and I doubt it's something anyone else can help you figure out if you seek personal meaning. Different priorities, goals, and crushed dreams.

Jul 20, 14 5:30 pm

There's a long and proud history of dilettantes in architecture. It's a perfect field for the privileged - you'll sound extra fancy at cocktail parties, maybe get on the board of a foundation or two... And, it will do wonders for your ego and sense of entitlement. Go for it!

Jul 20, 14 7:01 pm

If you don't need the extra income and love for yourself! I would, if my husband made enough for us to live on!

Jul 21, 14 6:17 am
Non Sequitur

architecture has always been a fashion accessory for the rich. Must be nice not to have to do any real work.

Jul 21, 14 8:34 am

I echo mj100 exactly.  If money was not an issue I would still do architecture, but I would be self-employed and I would do it for clients who appreciate it, who typically can't afford to pay very well.

Jul 21, 14 9:42 am

Unfortunately, clients who can't afford to pay very well can't afford to build very well either.

Jul 21, 14 10:07 am

not worry about money?  I'd spend all of my time creating work for publication and entering in competitions.  After about 10-15 years of this and a few small built projects, I'd hit the lecture circuit - at which point an oligarch will hire me to design a stadium or museum or something which will make me internationally famous and then interns will be paying me to abuse them.

Jul 21, 14 11:08 am

toast, you win. Best answer.

Jul 21, 14 12:19 pm

I would sit by the pool and post on archinect all day. 

Jul 21, 14 12:25 pm

Would it not give your life meaning to complete your degree, earn your license, start your own firm, do good work, run your firm well and provide gainful paid employment to young struggling architectural graduates?

In the end, I think a successful life is defined by doing what one enjoys and doing it well.

Jul 21, 14 12:45 pm

wizardofozz, I created a virtual museum of architecture. So far, now for almost 18 years, it's taken a lot of work and dedication, and, fortunately, there've been continual insights and even a few historical discoveries made along the way. Given the museum's place within the world wide web, the 'job' itself boils down to (almost) daily online publishing (of images and texts). If all goes well, I'd like to see the museum through to it's 35th or 40th anniversary.

There's an awful lot of cad data. Do you think I should eventually just share it?

Jul 21, 14 1:27 pm
Quondam, may I ask how old you are? That sounds very interesting I will take a look. Do you have a link?
Jul 21, 14 1:39 pm

I'm 58. link: Quondam

I should mention, the 'job' also entails lots and lots of 2d and 3d cad drawing. Right now the collection of drawings/databases is not as well represented as it used to be, but I'm presently working on fixing that.

Jul 21, 14 1:59 pm

Nice work Quondam. What CAD programs did you use for those drawing and renderings?

wizardofozz, whatever you decide to do, please do not work for clients for free. Please.

Jul 21, 14 9:42 pm

my favorite architect joke:

one architect wins the lottery

another architect asks what he is going to do with the money

"practice architecture till its all gone!"

Jul 21, 14 10:40 pm

^ haha

Jul 21, 14 11:03 pm

All the drawings and renderings at Quondam were done with ArrisCAD.

Jul 22, 14 11:13 am
chatter of clouds

deleted post 

Jul 22, 14 12:57 pm
Olaf Design Ninja_

Research and tell stories with drawings and renderings. Teach.

Jul 22, 14 9:07 pm

No worries! I have no intention of working for free.  I don't even like the idea of building other people's ugly dreams - especially when they have no design background.  I want to design my own ideas, even if they are rarely built.  The fact that I don't _have_ to work could really free me up to follow my passion and design stuff for the sake of designing it.  I simply wondered what you guys would do in this situation.  

Jul 27, 14 9:52 pm

"design stuff for the sake of designing"

Frankly, I don't see the "meaning" inherent in designing, with little to no intent of getting anything built. If that's your aim, why waste money and time pursuing an architectural degree? One doesn't need a degree to play at paper architecture.

Jul 27, 14 10:30 pm

There's so much venom even in this relatively harmless post, its not funny. No wonder so many end up leaving architecture.

To those who think they are doing a big favor to the universe by practicing architecture "like it should be" - get over yourselves, you are just doing what is prescribed.

To the OP, I dont think I can tell you what you should do, but if I did not have to work for the money, I would find the type of work I really want to do, say competitions or small residential projects and just focus on those. Most of us do not have the liberty to do so (and hence the venom, I think), and if you do, enrich your life!

Jul 28, 14 1:15 am

My brain is reeling from this question.

Jul 28, 14 5:19 pm

Why get a degree?  Why not just dabble and do paper designs?  Because I really value education.  I'm forever taking classes and enjoy the process of learning.  

Sameolddoctor - Thanks!  I was also thinking of entering competitions and doing small residential projects.  

Jul 28, 14 6:16 pm

i wouldn't do a damn thing all day.

Jul 28, 14 6:35 pm
Olaf Design Ninja_

Invent a school of architecture.

Jul 28, 14 6:57 pm

Maybe we are in a similar boat? I helped my husband start a business over the last few years and since the biz doesn't really need me much anymore and it provides income for us and... I can't go back to architecture after 5 years out, I've been taking classes and I've got almost half of a pre-med equivalent (not for credit, just for fun, for knowledge) and an equivalent to a history minor (again, not for credit). But I don't know what I am going to do with it besides be awesome.  

Jul 29, 14 7:45 am

I would provide pro-bono / low cost design services to those who otherwise couldn't afford it; then start a think tank based on design based solutions to some of the relevant issues of the day: ethnic/religious violence, border crossings, lead-contaminated urban areas, food security, shoreline restoration, climate adaptation, etc.

Jul 29, 14 1:40 pm

being awesome is enough tint.

Jul 29, 14 1:49 pm

3tk, you do know that this leads to free service right? If not it will be very close to getting very little to no pay. 

This is one of the reasons why the profession is dying. We have too many well off house wifes/ pillow fluffers who treats the profession as a hobby rather than a occupation. SMH 

Jul 30, 14 5:24 pm

"This is one of the reasons why the profession is dying. We have too many well off house wifes/ pillow fluffers who treats the profession as a hobby rather than a occupation. SMH"

See, awesomeness. I can take down a whole profession while by sitting by the pool.

Jul 30, 14 7:48 pm


I'm referring to offering low cost design services. This degrades the profession. Making it look cheap.

Jul 30, 14 11:09 pm

snoop, I see. Who does that? 

Jul 31, 14 1:15 am

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