Why are there so many rude architects?


I am a third year undergrad. While I have had many really great professors and mentors there have been a handful of really bad ones as with most things you do in life. I am curious if there are any people out there that teach that know why many feel the need to be so negative. I have noticed that when negative professors come to our school, the students  start to have a similar negative attitude and start to think its okay to be unkind to others. Yes, the professional world is unkind, yes the competition is great, yes this gives off the vibe that you are strong and dominant in the field but at the end of the day, were all just people and being assholes to everyone doesn't equal great architecture. 

Feb 27, 18 6:03 pm

I wouldn't necessarily extend your judgement of your experience with the academics onto those of us that practice.  From the outside looking in, I think many teachers get pretty beat-down after years in the classroom especially those that teach in the design disciplines.

Feb 27, 18 6:10 pm

There are assholes in firms as well.  I worked in flyover country at a fancy, published, and award-winning firm where the principals felt the need to act like assholes at all times.  They appeared to have an inferiority complex because they were not in NYC or LA.  Their design work, while showered with awards, was also very unoriginal, and I think the firm principals secretly knew it.

In contrast these wannabes, I spent time many years ago with truly great architects like Richard Meier and Paul Rudolph, and others, all of whom where very polite and down-to-earth people.   

Feb 27, 18 6:41 pm

I can verify the presence of fancy, published, award-winning fly-over a-holes. New Yorkers are sweethearts next to these guys.


Mr Wiggin's advice is correct.  

The density of smugfucks seems to be much higher in academia than the profession in general.  (Thank goodness.)  But in my view, it's not the world-weary emeriti who are the worst offenders, it's the following generation (or two).  A fancy sheepskin, a theoretical competition win, and a complete absence of good humor seem to be badges of honor for twits who feel good only when insulting students who aren't experienced enough to push back.  Bullying, I think it's called in real life.  In architecture school, they call it sarcasm.

Personal insecurity is the root cause, I believe.

Feb 27, 18 8:55 pm

^ Fortunately, there are some really great, helpful, and thoughtful architects in teaching as well.


Because people are assholes...and can build entire careers on being an asshole

(and the best part is that Leary stole the bit from CK, like a true asshole made a career by stealing other people's work, but because Leary stole from an asshole, who cares, right? He would make a great architect...)

Feb 28, 18 2:51 am

I personally never had to deal with such teachers by the way, or at least my work didn't invite assholery...who knows. People can be like sharks if there's a drop of blood in the water, or they hand you a band aid.

Not a Leary fan but that was great.


The behavior is vicious because the stakes are small.

Feb 28, 18 7:56 am
“I got your rude architects right here, pal.”

Sorry, can’t resist.

Every field has jerks, best to just try not to pay them attention.
Feb 28, 18 8:03 am

Donna, can I know the reference? It's ubiquitous yet I can't seem to find it on google.

Hi Aldea, it's not a reference I would expect anyone to know and it's too long a story for how dumb it is, but: back around 2001 Philadelphia (where I lived) was about to debut a new City slogan that they had paid a consultant tons of money for. Prior to the official unveiling of the slogan the only leak to the press was that the slogan was 7 words long. So the local alt weekly paper came up with potential slogans to fit. "An emergency room conveniently on every corner" "Free dumpster juice in every sidewalk gutter" and my personal favorite "Got your Liberty Bell right here, pal". It made me laugh so hard I've been using it ever since.


Oh. I was referring to the format " I've got your X right here pal". English is not my first language so I assumed it was a pop-culture reference.

Sorry, I misunderstood, and yes, you're right! The phrase "I've got your X right here, pal" is a general pop culture reference. I don't know of any specific first time it was used but it generally is representative of tough guys from New Jersey or Philadelphia or New York - truck driver types, or guys who work in a warehouse or doing labor. But I don't know when or where it first started.


I see. So it's one of those age-old sayings which have lost their origins.

Non Sequitur

I'm a friendly jerk.... unless I'm reviewing shop drawings. Then I'm just a regular jerk.

Feb 28, 18 8:11 am

Law, finance, entertainment, etc. are all much worse than architecture.

Feb 28, 18 8:46 am

"It is written that a tree shall be known by it's fruit. So you shouldn't judge the whole forest by the fruit of a few bad trees." ~ Me

 I don't think we should ever label or stereotype any such large groups. I have met many architects and talk to them on a daily basis. Some are rude some are very friendly. And if most people had to deal with what they have to deal with sometimes (having GC's, sub-contractors, owners, manufacturers etc. all yelling at them the same day, time sensitive deadlines, trying to make the impossible possible, etc.) I imagine they would be rude at times also.

 I did think it is was ironic when a brand new intern architect acted arrogant to me last week and then right after that I communicated with famous architect Ronald A. Shaw from the Caribbean and he was so cordial and humble to me. Perhaps that has something to do with his success. 

Feb 28, 18 1:05 pm

Might be an East Coast thing?

Feb 28, 18 1:29 pm

Hey, fuck you. New York is the best.

LOL lovely, Miles.


New York is the only place where I've been invited to sit with strangers at a cafe because there isn't enough seating. Try sitting at the same cafe table as a stranger in Nebraska. They'll be like, there is another town with another cafe 10 miles down the road, get going.


Yeah, but that's the nice thing about fly-over places like Nebraska. They aren't anthills where you can't find a table of your own in a restaurant. To each their own.


Theirs is small!

Feb 28, 18 2:18 pm

I've seen many rude architects - every place I worked, there is at least 2 

It's started with Jurors in school 

Feb 28, 18 6:48 pm

I did some juror work for a time. One of my grad student friends asked me to be the "mean" one. I felt a little put-off and surprised, and said, look I don't get what you're saying and I don't know how to sound "mean". She followed it up with, you know, just how honest and blunt you can be with your criticism. It definitely made me think about some things and change tactics.


have you seen the white house lately?

Feb 28, 18 7:04 pm

They get condescending and speak in archibabble - and look down on people, they perceive as lessor - 

Feb 28, 18 8:47 pm
You have to be able to handle criticism - one crit in particular, my prof invited one if his friends, a real hard ass dressed in black - he got in all of put faces - being this was in San Diego(USMC and SEALS) he proceeded to dress us down line some Gunnery Sargent Thomas Hartmann - "I'm here to tell you that you made the biggest mistake of your life studying architecture"
Mar 1, 18 12:07 am
You have to be able to handle criticism - one crit in particular, my prof invited one if his friends, a real hard ass dressed in black - he got in all of our faces - being this was in San Diego(USMC and SEALS) he proceeded to dress us down like some Gunnery Sargent Thomas Hartmann from "Full Metal Jacket" - "I'm here to tell you that you made the biggest mistake of your life studying architecture" - and this was after 48 hours - no sleep
I've had co-workers, where we would take the elevator down from SOM, to the street and get into these heated arguments on Market Street - Skidmore had it share - on particular P.A. dressed me down at the top of his lungs "Xenakis? That is bullshit" so loud, you could hear him on both both floors and damn near all the way to Wurster Hall in Berkeley - co-workers would IM me calling me names and saying I was on the road to ruin with Revit - then the recession hit - everyone remembered who was a jerk
It's best to be nice, the person who you are rude to, may show up on the other side of the interview table
Mar 1, 18 12:37 am
Some co-workers(notice I don't use the word colleague) can be impatient, condescending and speak in archibabble or talk to each other in Hindi or Russian, Farsi, Mandarin and Tagalog so I can't hear what they are saying - it got do bad, that our CEO told us that only English to be spoken in the office -
Mar 1, 18 12:53 am
The thing I hate more than anything, is when a team lead, PA or PM, gives you direction - and you do just that - then they come back and say "that's not what I had in mind, that's not what I told you to do - you did it wrong"
Then I say that's exactly what you told me, "I never said that"
Mar 1, 18 1:15 am

Just make notes and ask them to confirm before you start doing what they want you to do.


Is there actually something you don't hate about your job or architecture in general?


I'm passive aggressive more so than a-holey, less drama that way. 

Mar 1, 18 2:04 am

Part of it may be the culture of academia celebrating the genius of some well known assholes.  That being said, there are asshole carpenters, contractors, and the lot, so who knows.  Everybody gets insecure and hides behind their perceived status.  It doesn't help that we are taught to look down our noses at pedestrian tastes, instead of trying to understand them.

Mar 1, 18 5:46 pm

We're not rude, we're just smugly superior. 

Deal with it.

Mar 1, 18 7:16 pm

That this post emanates from architecture school is not a coincidence.  As noted above, every profession has its share of douche nozzles.  But a higher concentration seem to flock to academia, for better or worse.

Mar 3, 18 1:49 pm

Having to unquestioningly accept a lot of stuff that is patently bullshit gives a lot of room for assholes to perpetuate their own personal bullshit. Once you've already had to renounce your common sense, it's more difficult to effectively deal with bullies, who's whole premise is bullshit .


It’s funny, I remember noticing a clear line in academia...the theory wing was always more smug and arrogant than the history/archeology/building science wing. Opinions often carry a certain defensiveness while factual hard information doesn’t seem to really need


Yes... part of the problem (at least at the undergrad level) is that most 18-year olds are still kids, and it takes time to realize it's okay to stand up to and/or resist the smug dolt spewing nonsense.


To your point jla-x, that smugness comes from insecurity, the knowledge that what you're doing is so arbitrary, it involves spinning yarns rather than looking at empirical evidence. Kids either join them, relegate themselves to the "practical" end of the profession, or simply wait, hopefully without getting too cynical.

The key is not to react - that's being a professional - don't be some thin skinned Trumpitect
Mar 3, 18 2:14 pm
Be like Donna Sink - she had it together
Mar 3, 18 2:20 pm
Donna Sink has it together - not had, that's a typo - Sorry Donna
Mar 3, 18 2:21 pm


Mar 3, 18 9:12 pm

Faulty Urbanisms!


Mar 4, 18 11:08 am

why are wanna be architects so sensitive?

Mar 5, 18 12:37 pm

It's the Zeitgeist...


The question was why is everyone so rude. Sensitivity is a desired trait. Rudeness is not. Try again.


the question is so broad as to be nearly meaningless. A similar question might be "why are white cars so rusty?" My advice is to do the best you can. During crits, listen to the content of the critique and don't take anything personally. Sensitivity is "nice" but not if it is a distraction.


Well, to be honest, there is a real push nowadays to ban a certain use of language or content and even towards true censorship because things don't align with current political correctness, whatever that may be. Even in academia debate is being avoided. Or children's books are banned. There simply is a current trend of hypersensitivity and banning dissident voices and silencing people, just a fact...But that has nothing to do with rude architects and people being assholes of course, although I find it very rude to not allow certain speakers at debates and those are the real assholes, the people who decide for me that I should be protected from other points of view. Different discussion though...


totally different thing..


Yep, different thing...but you can't even give constructive feedback on wannabe architects' portfolio's without being labelled an asshole any more. So yes, architects just like other people can be rude a-f, but also many more things are labeled as rude, offensive and inappropriate these days, which results in more assholes because the criteria have changed, or something, I don't know.


^ These things are related, though not the same things.

There've always been a-holes and sensitive people.  It's just something to deal with, each on her/his own.

But there's a culture being stimulated now, especially on campus, where sensitivity is being actively encouraged and grievances cultivated.  (I get emails from the administration weekly with the word "micro-aggressions" in the subject line.)  I had a conversation with a (female Muslim immigrant) colleague yesterday who said, "What the hell is going on?  I'm afraid to say anything to anyone."

So the climate in which a-holery and other behaviors (including benign) occur is a-changing.

Mar 6, 18 2:04 pm

I can’t stomach what Universities have become. The culture of “safe space” and “micro aggression” is completely self destructive and pathetic. In my day a “micro aggression” was getting beat up by a group of angry midgets.


*little people


Oh, I guess Dwarf is the preferred word.


In Dutch little people are/were called Lilliputter (Lilliputian) after the island in Gulliver's Travels, think they're not too happy with that anymore either.


Today I learned that people are rude when they don't have their shit together. Is that a microaggression? 

Mar 6, 18 6:17 pm

I think the term for your reaction is "perfectly reasonable."


Before architecture, I was an industrial design major, and there was this one prof. who was rude "Don't burn my clock" was a favorite of his - he kinda looked like Hugh Hefner, except he didn't want women in his class, or anyone older than 28 - do one day, a bunch of students filed a complaint with Ca. State Univ. chancellors office - in two weeks, they told him to "pack his tools" and get out - I saw him working at a frame shop in Los Gatos

He didn't have his shit together
Mar 6, 18 7:02 pm

Why do architects swear so much?

Mar 6, 18 7:42 pm

It's fucking Tuesday.


No that's Wednesday!


From watching too many Mafia movies.


that man has game


Yes, the baggy T-shirt with the stains. I have one from fucking Johnsonite! So hot.


Mar 6, 18 10:48 pm

I was just told to shut up for solving a problem that apparently needed to be solved later this week, not now. One point for the RUDES! Like I said, overwhelmed makes people rude. Can't think, so rude.

Mar 8, 18 5:50 pm

40 minute conversation on why there was no time to listen to my proposal. Which would have taken 5 minutes to look at. Bang head on wall. Repeat. 

Mar 8, 18 6:05 pm

Civility, like having good manners has been eradicated by the media, sports, and kardashian stars. Our civilization is in a race to lowest common denominator.

Welcome to the New World Order of Facebook.

Mar 10, 18 9:53 am

Nope, it's people doing it to other people...has nothing to do with media, sports or Kardashians.


It's both. Human nature, plus so many more venues in which to act out its worst tendencies.


I think those are just lame excuses, let's blame the media, Kim Kardashian or the Patriots, it's people who decide to act out their worst tendencies and nobody else.


I think it's depression culture. If you show happiness, somebody will do their best to remind you that it is irresponsible to be ok ... how can you be ok? there are heavy metals in your food! factory farms! landfills! children with cancer! north korea! federal debt! car accidents! pants that are too tight! socks that get lost in the dryer! homeless people! kids that need new shoes before they outgrew their last ones! utility companies that burn coal! people in africa without clean water! homeschoolers in kansas teaching creationism! life is terrible! And don't try to say it's ok and change the subject because that'll really get them, are you irresponsible?... Americans need a little more buddha in their lives.


I haven't watched TV in over 8 years. Might be more like 10 now. (who are the kardashians anyways?) Those teens are smart. Peace of mind is where it's at.


Not too much Buddha though, those Buddhists can also be major assholes...


I also follow the teachings of Goldilocks.


But she's blond, so...


Agree. I have a fascination with stand up just seems like the most difficult thing to do.


I love a good bit.


Something to do instead of watch TV or bitch at people.

Mar 11, 18 10:38 am

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