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Career options for a not-so-creative architect ?

jjoyner

I've been working as an architect for the past 2 years and I've come to an understanding that I'm not great at creating concepts and creative works, which is very much needed as an architect. But I can say I'm good at the stages that comes after the conceptual development,like design problem solving, working drawings, shop drawings etc. and also on the project management side(by occasionally working with the senior project manager). 

So, What field/post can I pursue or look forward to work (or further studies) since I'm really bad at the creative side. Looking forward to hearing suggestions from an experienced personnel. Thank you so much!  

 
Feb 6, 18 9:57 am
Non Sequitur

Excellent and intelligent detailing is more important in the long run than creative flair.  If you like CD and CA, stick to it.  New grunts will come and go and provide the inexpensive design you'll take and complete buildings.

What field? Specifications or building enveloppe consultant looks like a good direction.

Feb 6, 18 10:02 am
randomised

Most architects are not great at creating concepts and creative works, simply look around you.

Feb 6, 18 10:32 am
JLC-1

That's the way it always has been, you were supposed to learn how things get built in school, then practice with an architect to see how the ideas came to be; now it's all upside down, schools don't teach you anything about building, but "celebrate" your creation of impossible utopias than can't even be built, and you get to work with all the wrong "ideas" in your head, this is a career, you start slow, then pick-up the pace until you set the pace, can't go around it....

Feb 6, 18 10:47 am
shellarchitect

it's unfortunate that schools focus so much on design and virtually ignore that other 95% of what it takes to actually get a building built.

seems like "project architect" would be the next title for you to aspire to 

Feb 6, 18 11:49 am
citizen

Completely agree with all of  the above.  You have the marketable skills, and owe no apology for that.

Shell is right about the over-emphasis on conceptual work to the exclusion of other, very critical abilities.  This is visible all over Archinect as well.  The abundance of under-thought headlines by some of the fanboy/girl bloggers linking to the latest rendering or utterance by [insert Starchitect name here] reveals much.

Some of the best content here (to me) is war stories from folks who know whereof they speak... about detailing, field conditions, entitlements, clients, office management, local culture, etcetera.

Feb 6, 18 3:46 pm
thatsthat

I'm not sure exactly how you came to this realization, but only 2 years in... chances are you're still going through the growing pains of figuring out how to do your job.  To echo what others have said, keep growing, keep learning, and don't let the BS get you down.  You'll be able to create some truly awesome work (and hopefully make clients very happy) if you are able to complete projects on time, on budget, and well made.

Some of the best content here (to me) is war stories from folks who know whereof they speak... about detailing, field conditions, entitlements, clients, office management, local culture, etcetera.

I had a Construction Documents class in undergrad where the lecture component was solely a project manager from a nearby bigger city firm who would come and tell his war stories.  Showed us pictures of projects where the contractor screwed up a flashing detail, interior elevation in a room, exit stair, etc., because the documents weren't clear enough.  He talked about how much money it was costing the client and how they approached fixing the issue.  It was a huge eye-opener.

Feb 6, 18 3:52 pm
JLC-1

I had a studio teacher that said nobody would produce architecture before they turn 40, we used to hate him, until we realized he was right.

Define "bad at the creative side".

There is often more creativity involved in getting something built than there is in the conception of the project.

As mentioned above, there are a whole lot of architects who think they are creative geniuses but who couldn't design their way out of a paper bag. Some of them have won the Pritzker.

Feb 6, 18 4:59 pm
citizen

^ Well-stated.

thatsthat

There is often more creativity involved in getting something built than there is in the conception of the project.

thatsthat

Meant to say about ^^ quote is that this is so true! I've worked with "creatives" before that spend all day designing that couldn't go out in the field and come up with solutions on the spot like some "uncreative" project managers I've worked with.

The Creatives also don't like things like building codes.

We only hate the stupid ones.

What Stupid Building codes do you hate?

joseffischer

I don't know that I 'hate' any, but I really like the idea that Americans have gotten so fat that we had to change the clearance requirement of handrails from 1.5" to 2.25" in the NFPA 101 - 2012 code, but I don't like the fact that this directly conflicts with the IBC 2012 code. Nor do I like that different states, and even different counties/cities, use different code editions.

geezertect

Agree wholeheartedly with the others above.  Pretty picture people are a dime a dozen in this field, contrary to the impression given in most architecture schools.  If you enjoy doing the stuff downstream from design phase, stick with it.  You will be more valuable in the long run.  And if you become interested in management of construction, or in the business side of development (the client side) you can be assured that the remuneration will be much better than the would-be stararchitects you work with, most of whom will never come close to fulfilling their wildly unrealistic dreams

Feb 6, 18 6:01 pm
McTaco

have you seen half the shit that gets built? I’ve feel the same way about myself... I’m not as creative as my peers, but I’m 100 percent damn sure I can design better than most of the shit out there. 

Feb 6, 18 7:21 pm
BulgarBlogger

What do you mean by “bad”?


Have you wver thought that maybe the way you choose to express your creaticity does not coincide with you boss’s or your firm’s? 


Case in point: if you like modern design, but you firm is very traditional, or if your clientelle are used to symmetry and you like to design with assymetry, perhaps you need to try to work at a place that is more open to your personal preference. There are people out there who copy and paste from Pinterest all day long and if something doesn’t match that style, you will never be able to showcase your talent!

Feb 6, 18 7:39 pm
l3wis

the thread thumbnail made me crack up.

Feb 7, 18 10:32 am
Thayer-D

It would be great if schools actually focused on design as understood for thousands of years.  Instead, those 'concepts' are actually polemics that have very little to do with how a finished building will actually be experienced.  My guess is if you have a practical bent to solving problems, you'd actually be good at aesthetics as most people appreciate them, I don't know, but I'm guessing.  Try working for a builder making their work beautiful.  It's incredibly satisfying to make people happy, while you earn your keep.  Good luck!

Feb 7, 18 11:00 am
JawkneeMusic

Go back to school & take the classes for a architectural engineering degree, be a architectural engineer/draftsman

alternately, if you know all that, just try to the the fe and the pe exams

Feb 7, 18 11:18 am
JawkneeMusic

but it's true-if you think it's bad-it is.

JawkneeMusic

there has never stood on the face of this earth perfect architecture.

Non Sequitur

perfect is overrated.

JawkneeMusic

not true-architecture can stand for a LONG time, if a perfect building isn't built but an imperfect one stands in its place, maybe not today or even in the decade, but surely eventually it will mean the suffering of life.

edit: that's why architecture has to be moral, reasonable, and rational.

Non Sequitur

Moral? who's morals? My morals are far superior than yours for example, so should I get to decide every piece of architecture?

JawkneeMusic

the morals that ever being is born innocent and life should be a fair playing field, that no being should bring another down.

shellarchitect

hippy talk, get ready to be run over by life

jamesaleisterbarcelona

Become a BIM technician, or a Production manager, or a Project/Construction Manager and focus on Value Engineering, Specifications, Construction Drawings, etc. I sense you're more keen to the execution of a design or project, rather than the conceptual / creative process of it. And I agree with all the comments that it's something that's truly lacking in academe today. Also, starchitects are nothing without the people who do the rigorous work of being able to interpret and transform their designs to construction standards and feasibility. 

Feb 7, 18 12:21 pm
JLC-1

^^^^ amen to this; OP, specialize in waterproofing and curtain walls and you will have Frank Gehry eating from your palm.

JawkneeMusic

There's nothing wrong with being involved in the non-imaginationation portion of a project!

Feb 7, 18 12:23 pm
JawkneeMusic

but if you DESIRE to design keep this in mind: make it suit its purpose, be economical, ecological...but most of all, and maybe this is the sum of the preceding but, make it something that you FEEL on a gut level.

JawkneeMusic

Make it like you're tearing yourself to pieces, looking at them, and then putting them back together.

Non Sequitur

Stick to making shitty music... it's best to focus your mediocrity into a single passion instead of spreading it around.

JawkneeMusic

quantify that, you seem to be a hypocrite, you tell me moral is non-absolute & then a unknowable as knowable.

JawkneeMusic

Guess who defaults on thinking and defaulted on their free will

edit: and who probably defaults on their buildings

Non Sequitur

You could not have done a better job demonstrating my point.

JawkneeMusic

good. I've never designed a building.

Non Sequitur

It is very obvious you've never designed anything.

JawkneeMusic

Ha

Non Sequitur

Glad I could help. Hopefully you're not late for work. Those pizzas won't deliver themselves.

JawkneeMusic

how bout this: I designed a non-computerized lever lab to demonstrate principals of statics. have you done this lab? if not, what business do you have building?

Non Sequitur

far more than you, but that's the obvious low-hanging fruit. Stick to shitty guitar tunes.

JLC-1

what is a non-computerized lever lab? besides the obvious language barrier, I think you are just a young lad with an overactive imagination.

Non Sequitur

It gets much worst JLC... if you want to venture into history. He's got killer drawing and writing chops too.

JawkneeMusic

I'm not telling you what a non-computerized level lab IS.

JLC-1

sure kid, seek spiritual help.

Non Sequitur

We did not ask you because we don't care.

tduds


Welp.

jla-x

I think it’s another name for Minecraft

citizen

Also, don't make the mistake of thinking that design only applies to big-picture concept stuff.

Windows, floor patterns, wall sections, waterproofing, casework, etcetera, etcetera.... are all important objects of design at various scales.

Feb 7, 18 1:17 pm
BulgarBlogger

keep telling youself that doors and windows are “design” too- its therapeutic until you realize that you cant fart without running your decisions through the design director and once you do, everything changes..you’ll realize that you actually don’t have much choice at the end of the of the day- your hands are the Design Director’s prosthetics. Once “your pass” of the door and window details is approved by the Design Director, your task becomes technical- so at the end of the day- you’re no doing any design. You are just executing someone else’s design.

Feb 7, 18 1:42 pm
citizen

^ As narrowly defined in some huge firms, quite possibly.

But in the rest of the world, not at all.  Enjoy designing on a range of scales.

JawkneeMusic

you're right i've never designed anything.  Nothing to steal, to steal from, to say you were the reason it designed, to say you need to approve it because I don't know what's good.

Feb 7, 18 1:49 pm
Non Sequitur

We've already determined a while back that your drawings suck. Not sure who you're trying to impress here with that pile of garbage.

JawkneeMusic

and you've shown another flaw.no not your opinion, but your belief that a determination can be determined, in another, from their words.

Non Sequitur

I'm flawless.

JawkneeMusic

let's both make something rn, and then post it. we have thirty minutes. let's see if you've even got a spine.

Non Sequitur

Seriously? I don't need to, nor have the time, to humour a peasant like you.

3tk

2 yrs is a relatively short time - but long enough to realize that the current place might not be the best fit.  Design is wide ranging, and early in a career it might be more of an indication that the fit is wrong.  That being said a large part of the profession centers on DD onward.  Being able to find construction solutions to achieve the core design intent is a large portion of a good firm's work.  It's a valuable skill set that is less obvious and takes quite some time to develop.

Don't get too hopped up on PMing - it's another ball game entirely and the good PM skill sets are (again) less obvious and come from experience.  Everyone's in a rush to say they want to be PMs without understanding the full consequences.

Feb 7, 18 2:30 pm
JawkneeMusic

comments required

Feb 7, 18 2:48 pm
Non Sequitur

I'm happy I did not entertain this nonsense. This is shit.

tduds

Nice shoe.

b3tadine[sutures]

Who does that to good trace?

randomised

http://78.media.tumblr.com/17e768f51abe92b634fd380715b686cf/tumblr_mm0wyjzfYu1s99m4bo1_400.gif

THAT'S GOLD JERRY, GOLD!!!

Feb 7, 18 3:12 pm
JawkneeMusic

The name's Robert and I'm looking for a job in Los Angeles, CA.  I could put it in perspective if you want.

Feb 7, 18 3:20 pm
jla-x

Robert, as in Robert Stern?

JawkneeMusic

Soley.

JawkneeMusic

Idk if this against the rules but I'm an electrician trainee, thus eligible to take journeyman exam.  I have experience welding stick.  I'd be willing to do design/build for a company, you wouldn't need to pay me for building or designing if I got a living wage from one.  I figure I could live off minimum wage, I'm willing to work unpaid overtime.

Feb 7, 18 3:31 pm
Non Sequitur

Try wallmart

JawkneeMusic

are you that same guy that put up all the WalDrug signs?

jla-x

There is value in every niche of the field of building stuff...the key is to find/realize that value and meaning in what you do, and do it to your best abilities.  Too many people these days equate recognition with success.  Recognition is external...success is internal.  If you are happy with what you do, and people pay you to do it, then that’s all you need.  

Feb 7, 18 5:26 pm
Le Courvoisier

Ladies and Gentlemen, please don't post on Archinect while under the influence of illicit drugs.

Feb 7, 18 5:51 pm
JLC-1

I think it's more the lack of legal (mental) drugs

Non Sequitur
This discussion has certainly made this snowstorm day interesting.
Feb 7, 18 5:53 pm
JawkneeMusic

please, now i'm almost dying to see something you've made-now that you've called something i made "shit".

JawkneeMusic

I'll be back in 30 minutes.

Non Sequitur

You seriously think those drawings are good? You have some serious issues.

JawkneeMusic

It's got its merits.

edit: I was still working on it when my alarm rang

Non Sequitur

no, it literally has no merit.

JawkneeMusic

I don't believe you believe that.

Non Sequitur

The nice thing about reality is that it's true regardless of what you believe.... but, just because I had to use the scanner for work reasons, below is a 15-second sketch I made while on the phone with my contractor earlier this morning. It's a musing of a design idea I'm trying to work into a large painting for my home.  Savvy observants will notice the use of two different fountain pens as well as 6B graphite.


JawkneeMusic

I don't even know what that is!!!!!!!! edit: and i no wanna

Non Sequitur

it's a design sketch, something you have no grasp of. Don't hurt yourself, I know thinking is not a strength of yours.

AdrianFGA

since I'm really bad at the creative side.

Then you might have what it takes to be an excellent project architect. The core design, in most cases, is performed by the senior staff / directors / principals anyway. If you leave that out, then there is more creativity and perhaps more insight in a telephone directory than your average run-of-the-mill architectural job.  The project needs to be completed in time, within budget, and with the least amount of snags of any nature (legal, technical, etc) so you need to be organised, able to process and manage vast amounts of tedious data, be a good communicator, have technical skills, familiarity with various fabrication or manufacturing processes, know what to do on a construction site, be good at budgeting, economics, and particularly good at construction law / contract administration, not to mention knowledge of a myriad of building regulations, codes, standards, and then some. So, yeah, creativity is perhaps overrated, and if I were you, I wouldn't worry one bit about it.


Feb 7, 18 7:41 pm
archi_dude

All those skills and a national average salary of 70k. Bugger out now.

geezertect

Yup. Sell those skills in a different corner of the building industry where the compensation isn't an embarrassment.

JawkneeMusic

Non Sequitur, if it's just a painting, why don't you take a page from the book of beauty (note, I had nothing to do with this building, photograph, and that's Frank O. Gehry):

Feb 8, 18 12:04 pm
Non Sequitur

You're not particularly bright.

tduds

If not for the caption I would have never known that was Frank O. Gehry.

Volunteer

Don't sell yourself short. being 'creative' does not mean designing some bizarre pile of shit from the ground up that has no historical context, does not fit the site, does not address the climate, ignores the specified function of the building, and pays no attention to the needs of the client.

Feb 8, 18 2:06 pm

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