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The issue of ego in architecture.

161
tyth

This is an attempt to understand one of the underlying collective psychological issues inherent in our profession. Architecture seems to attract an adundance of people with inflated egos, the latter being at times disproportionate to skill. 

-Why are people viewing being an architect as an extension to their social status? 

-Does the toxic attitude of superiority start within education and how exactly? 

-Is toxicity ultimately a by-product of being trapped in a cash-stripped profession? 

-Isn't this sense of superiority essentially deeply hypocritical, especially when considering how irrelevant the profession has ended up being nowadays? 

-Why does everyone want to become an architect? Most importantly why are so many people convinced that they are good designers? 

Discuss. 

 
May 2, 21 4:17 pm
Non Sequitur
  1. Architecture seems to attract an adundance[sic] of people with inflated egos, the latter being at times disproportionate to skill. 
    1. Opinion only based on likely a very small amount of life experience.  Relying on such under-informed opinion to frame the rest of your loaded questions is not going to give you the conclusion you've already established
  2. -Why are people viewing being an architect as an extension to their social status?
    1. I certainly don't.  I typically avoid talking about my profession or at least I never try to bring it up unless asked about it.  When it does come, I am very quick to note that the length/difficulty of school is inversely proportionate to the value most architecture school grads have to offer. 
  3. -Does the toxic attitude of superiority start within education and how exactly?
    1. See answer to point 1 above.  Squint hard enough and you'll see only exactly what you want to see. 
  4. -Is toxicity ultimately a by-product of being trapped in a cash-stripped profession?
    1. Again, see answers to points 1 and 3 above.  It's not cash-strapped unless you decide to work in a slave ship for shitty offices and/or clients.  The vast majority of architects do just fine.  Blame the current education system for convincing students that they are important and should be paid according to their delusions.  The truth is, we're not going to see tech-bros money because that's not our industry.  Just don't tell the poor fool taking out a 200k loan for Harvard that they can expect a 50k salary when they graduate.
  5. -Isn't this sense of superiority essentially deeply hypocritical, especially when considering how irrelevant the profession has ended up being nowadays? 
    1. We're still quite relevant if you actually look at the work most architects do.  What is irrelevant is expecting that the profession is a dead end because you're not working on grand internationally significant projects all the time. 
  6. -Why does everyone want to become an architect? Most importantly why are so many people convinced that they are good designers?
    1. Blame DIY tv shows.  Also, architecture is not just design.  Start with that though and maybe you can get past your loaded POV expressed in point 1. 

Back to work

May 2, 21 4:44 pm  · 
6  ·  1
daer

This is quite awkward because you are the type of person the OP is referring to. . .

May 2, 21 5:56 pm  · 
2  ·  4
RJ87

Agreed on all points, with the exception of #2. In a world where most people have to give lengthy responses for what they do for a living, I enjoy being able to give a simple answer that I'm an Architect. Especially to the general public it's a respected profession & the average person doesn't know many (if any) architects. There are only about 115,000 in the US. The problem with architecture school is that it convinces recent grads that they'll all be designing museums & high rises in New York. That's just a small fraction of the industry.

May 3, 21 10:06 am  · 
1  · 
RJ87

The idea that architect's are all poor is also confusing. The median household income in the US is around 68K. That's with 2 people working in 54% of households. Compared to that we're doing just fine. The problem is a lot of recent grads have huge loans, decide to move to some of the most expensive cities in the world & often times don't become Architects after all that schooling because they never get their license. How can you reasonably expect to be in a good financial situation when you combine all that ?

May 3, 21 10:21 am  · 
4  · 
tduds

It's not that architects are "poor" its that we're underpaid relative to other professionals with similar amounts of education & accreditation. Whether that's an argument for higher pay or an argument for lower accreditation is still up for debate.

May 3, 21 1:18 pm  · 
3  · 
RJ87

I don't know about you but I cast my vote for higher pay. But like most other professional occupations I think the real money is in actually utilizing your license by having your own practice. Often times the end result for folks within the industry, whether by choice or by other circumstances, is doing work you don't actually need your license to do. It limits compensation significantly by reducing barrier to entry for your day to day tasks.

May 3, 21 2:48 pm  · 
1  · 
tduds

Well yeah I'm always down for a raise or two. My (half-snarky) point was aimed at the common refrain that "Architects have as much schooling as doctors!" which sets up all sorts of false assumptions and comparisons.

May 3, 21 5:48 pm  · 
 · 
RJ87

That comparison never made a whole lot of sense to me. The schooling is incredibly different from a requirements standpoint. I think we compare similarly to law as a professional structure though, with the glaring exception that Architecture extends significantly more responsibilities to unlicensed folks. Doctors & Lawyer's mostly tell you to go kick rocks if you don't get licensed.

May 3, 21 6:01 pm  · 
1  · 
tduds

Yeah that's usually the comparison I use when explaining ARE to people (It's like passing the Bar. Well, it's like passing 7 Bars) We don't get paid as much as lawyers either though, so...

May 4, 21 12:33 am  · 
 · 
midlander

the only architects i've encountered with enormously imposing egos were recognized leaders in the profession. this isn't unique to architecture. observe elon musk or the late steve jobs. even many far less name-known lawyers and specialist doctors are very self-oriented and dismissive of other people. being extraordinarily good at something makes it hard to relate to the people who aren't and especially who aren't and don't care.

May 2, 21 7:31 pm  · 
7  · 
joseffischer

yeah, want to get into egos, design an MoB or state supreme courthouse... the doctors with C-level credentials and justices basically get a blank check to their offices

May 3, 21 6:08 pm  · 
2  · 
tduds

There are a lot of threads on this forum where people ask "Why is [x] true?" without acknowledging that the question of "Is [x] true?" is still very much unanswered.

May 2, 21 7:33 pm  · 
9  · 
midlander

is that true?

May 2, 21 8:24 pm  · 
4  · 
tduds

Yes.

May 3, 21 1:18 pm  · 
1  · 
proto

1 out of 18 responders answer this wrong

May 3, 21 1:57 pm  · 
 · 
citizen

I've complained here for years about the high concentration of smug fucks you risk running into at certain events-- often studio reviews with a lot of guest critics/jurors.  The worst of them address only each other, not the students-- who are otherwise used for insulting with cheap digs uttered in pompous archi-babble.  (Good for you; you humiliated a kid hoping to learn something today, tough guy in a turtleneck.)

I'm not always sure which are faculty and which are invited guests.  All I know is that I want to punch them.  Hard.  Unfortunately, a lot of creative fields seem to attract many of this type.

The great news is that-- while they seem to dominate ("an a[b]undance of people with inflated egos") because of visible obnoxiousness-- I believe they're in the minority.  I know and know of so many great people in our field who are generous and kind as well as smart and creative.  Hang out with them instead.

May 2, 21 7:56 pm  · 
7  · 

Ignoring the obvious exaggerated generalizations (Why does everyone want to become an architect?):

As mid noted, the issue of ego is not confined to architecture and is often a reflection of one's level of success. You see this a lot with wealthy people, and especially those who inherited it rather than earned it. This is the difference between ego and confidence. 

In architecture we often deal with people of excess wealth (who else can afford it?) and the only thing (aside from money) that such people understand is extreme confidence, which is easily construed as ego. My father designed for some heavy hitters and had to play at that level. But a more humble man you never met. His confinence was often mistaken for ego.

When I see the likes of Jay1122 (or whatever he calls himself) and others completely immune to basic reasoning, I assume that the overbearing experession of ego is the result of a shitty overentitled upbringing. The outsized ego is a desperate (and transparent) attempt to cover up a complete lack of ability. This is often the outcome of being fed with a silver spoon. The Hamptons Dictionary describes the ultimate result of this as the Lizzie Grubman effect. [For reference, 32 year-old Lizzie, who was raised by a succession of nannies and given everything imaginable accept the love of her parents, flew into a rage after being told she couldn't park at the entry canopy of a Hamptons nightclub and plowed daddy's Mercedes SUV over 16 people.]

Back in the day my old man was invited to sit on a discussion panel with Meier and some other 'notables'. He said that once they started talking all he wanted to do was leave. He said they believed their own bullshit.

To get back to some of your points, architecture is a service industry and for the most part we are treated like waitstaff. 

Architectural education teases students into thinking they are going to be the next (insert starchitect here) without preparing them in any way for the technical realities of the work or the business realites of the practice. Due to the costs involved, many archie students are trust fund babies with the inherent ego problems associated with that. This is directly related to school snobbery (Ivies, which one, etc.). We hired guys with bachelor of science from county schools over Harvard grads as they were technically well-grounded and capable of productive work from the getgo. And they had no illusions about who they were.

I can't begin to tell you how many of my father's houses have been renovated by sons or nephews straight out of school, which is typically their only project ever. 

May 2, 21 10:21 pm  · 
5  · 
JLC-1

to believe our won bullshit is the worst ego trip.

May 3, 21 12:27 pm  · 
 · 
proto

"Due to the costs involved, many archie students are trust fund babies with the inherent ego problems associated with that."

^^^ kind of a broad brush, no?

I expect it doesn't play out in the quantities indicated...maybe that's just my own experience

May 3, 21 2:01 pm  · 
1  · 
Jay1122

Why are you mentioning my name in your random yaba yaba. Still holding grudges? How many days has it been? Man, you truly have a shallow mind with limited vision. No wonder apukov or whatever hates you that much. You actually remind me of my first boss out of school. 30 years in business, 99% of the work are roof replacement type renovation jobs laughs at Frank Gehry's building. Calling those architecture the architect's ego. Honestly, he probably cares more about finishing jobs fast and having maximum profit in fees. If you believe in code compliant boxes and make easy money, so be it. You may call it ego, I say it is passion to push architecture beyond the norm. Whether one's work is actually good is left to be decided by the architecture critics, the client, or the public. Whatever you say is just your opinion. Ego or not. Stop mentioning my name in your random blah blah.

May 3, 21 3:20 pm  · 
 · 

Jay1122 - you're the one who created a second account for the sole purpose of telling Miles that he's not an architect. I'd say you're holding a grudge.

May 4, 21 3:40 pm  · 
1  · 

Do you know what's worse? A client with an insurmountable ego...

Though, it's great to see the egotistical boss set straight by a client with an insurmountable ego. 

Got to have some fun with this stuff...

May 2, 21 10:29 pm  · 
4  · 

Battle of the Titans ...

May 2, 21 11:33 pm  · 
1  · 

In a previous life I was doing traditional Japanese woodwoork for some billionaire's beach house. The owner and the architect, a guy who thought waaay too highly of himself (amplified no doubt by fat fees from the billionaire), were doing a walkthrough near completion. Billionaire points at something he doesn't like and asks architect "Why is this like that?" Architect says "I don't know." Billionaire says "What do you mean you don't know? I pay you to know!" All the tradesmen - who'd been eating the architect's crap for a year - really enjoyed that.

May 3, 21 9:07 am  · 
2  · 
rcz1001

Battle of the Dickheads!

May 3, 21 6:08 pm  · 
 · 
natematt

I primarily see a couple of reasons where EGO creeps up.

1) Shameless self promotion in an attempt to get ahead in the profession. Often this is most painfully obvious coming from people who may not seem like they deserve it, so it's pretty painful to watch. I think this actually touches on the "good designers" question, because the reality is that I think there are a lot of people out there in this field who promote themselves as great designers to try to get ahead when they are in fact not, and often know it... 

2)  I also think there is a lot of actual knowledge, professional opinion, and responsibility that are often confused for ego. 

May 3, 21 1:22 am  · 
3  · 

Oddly enough I've rarely encountered large egos in architecture.  When I do it's typically from the people who are not deserving of such ego.  The people who would be deserving of such self praise don't act as such and view the profession as a team effort.  

I think this is because the 'little man / woman' with the big ego is trying compensate for their shortcomings as a person.  

May 3, 21 10:30 am  · 
1  · 
zonker

Dunning Kruger syndrome in action

May 3, 21 11:34 am  · 
 · 
tintt

The people who I think have big egos tell me it is confidence, not ego. But seriously you kinda have to have confidence/ego to propose people spend a bunch of money, time, and resources to manifest your ideas. 

May 3, 21 11:46 am  · 
2  · 
bowling_ball

It's interesting the way you've put it, which wouldn't be the way that I'd express it. You wrote "... to manifest your ideas." Are your words speaking to your ego when you write that? Because I agree with most of what you wrote, but I've never looked it at as "my ideas" but rather helping the client achieve their goals. Architecture as service, not sculpture.

May 3, 21 1:48 pm  · 
1  · 
tintt

Your ideas achieve their goals, do they not?

May 3, 21 2:04 pm  · 
 · 

Yes but the building and money is theirs, not yours and you work for them.

May 3, 21 3:38 pm  · 
1  · 
tintt

Ok bros.

May 3, 21 4:58 pm  · 
 · 
Jay1122

There is definitely room for ideas. Not all clients will control the design. Some are very open and trusting. Ideas and designs matter. To what degree one starts to call it "ego" is subjective. I have worked on a really poorly designed building. With 1000 sq ft of dead space double corridor in front of locker rooms. It was made that way because the gym above was that square footage. Simple program box extrusion results in wasted dead space. Too narrow to be social space or other programs, too big of a footage to waste. I was laughing at it as an intern with other interns, joking that the wasted space is bigger than NYC's apartments. The partner overheard and got pissed.

May 3, 21 5:35 pm  · 
 · 
Non Sequitur

That partner was right to be pissed. That school project was probably covering your and fellow interns' paychecks.

May 3, 21 5:41 pm  · 
2  · 
Jay1122

Yes it is paying the $$, but I am looking for more than a simple paycheck. The money is all they care about. Save time, reduce fees. Make it simple, less detail work. But they could've done more. The design was basically laid out in autocad in 2 days, without considering the slopped site. Just lay the program boxes and extrude. Then went on to elevation design by adding precast stone panel, bands, windows. It wasn't integrated at all. If it you think that's the way of designing a build. You do yours. Not me. I would at least do some 3D models in Rhino to explore the different aspects first. Then proceed with the best scheme.

May 3, 21 5:45 pm  · 
 · 
RJ87

Pretty much the only way to make good money doing public schools (most public projects in general) is to do them quickly, which is why most of them look like they've been done quickly. But it keeps the lights on for the projects you are able to pour some time into.

May 3, 21 5:50 pm  · 
1  · 
tduds

More and more I'm getting the sense that Jay graduated from a very heady academic environment into an unfulfilling intern job at a dull service firm, then decided these are the only two types of environments that exist. I could be wrong but all he ever does is compare these two things.

May 3, 21 5:56 pm  · 
5  · 

There is always room for ideas. I've rarely run into clients that had a uncompromising vision for their project. Most are limited with a budget but come to us (the firm I'm at) with only a general idea of what they want and require us to make it happen any way we want as long as it fits within the budget.

May 3, 21 6:07 pm  · 
3  · 

RJ87 - in my experience public schools have a shortened design schedule due to how districts can obtain funding. The construction schedule is typically fixed to coincide with the teaching schedule. This can create an environment were the architect and contractor have to use a fast track delivery method.

I don't think it has to do with the architect only being able to make money by cranking out school designs.  

May 3, 21 6:11 pm  · 
1  · 
Jay1122

I know you guys will talk about budgets and such. Yes, there is budget limits, but budget is not the excuse in my example. After the stupid program layout and extrusion. The "designer" proceeded to add large custom shaped curtain walls facing west, storefront doors, fancy curved roofs, etc. Trying to "dress up" the boring masonry extrusion. Looks like a bunker if you just do the extrusion. Anyway I do not want to dive too deep into design methodology and processes. Just my point being, there are people that truly give no fk about quality in design. Or simply unable to due to lack of design skills.

Tduds, you are not wrong. But I do know there are middle grounds.  And I am trying to get there.

May 4, 21 9:01 am  · 
 · 
Jay1122

Oh this example is not a new school BTW. Just a 10,000 sf facility. The 50-100 person firm haven't done a single ground up school or any projects more than 10Mil in the past 5 years. So, such disregard or lack of awareness against design will affect overall direction and "success?" of the firm. But their profit rate beats 90% of firms of this size. By doing mostly renovation jobs and just copy from old projects. Reusing same details and notes. This is a chicken and egg question. Does good design bring better projects and clients or is it the other way around? Don't care. I just know I pursue more than a paycheck, otherwise I wouldn't have joined architecture. Finance or tech is way better if I just want a paycheck.

May 4, 21 9:21 am  · 
 · 
Non Sequitur

Keeping a business alive and its staff employed is more important than design. Those repetitive projects keep the lights in and cash-flow. Stability is a good thing and is far better than wasting fees letting junior staff run wild with design options the clients might not even want in the first place.

May 4, 21 9:28 am  · 
 · 
Jay1122

Oh NS, don't think this as my complaint. Just sharing a little of my experience. I do not agree or disagree with the firm. In terms of business, it is very efficiently run. Low level interns as draft machine. 1 Job captain oversees drafting.1 Project manager & 1 assistant deal with all the client interaction and management. The environment is good and friendly. The hours are relaxing. I just care about architecture and design too much. You can call it "ego" or whatever. I don't care about labels. If I am the business owner, I may do the same. But I am not, I am getting paid low salary as draft machine. so I will focus on what I care about. Not what my boss like. Moved on after I learned the skills I can learn before getting repetitive. 

May 4, 21 9:45 am  · 
 · 
Non Sequitur

Then yes, that ego is quite the problem, esp when working for someone else and on the client's dime.

May 4, 21 9:48 am  · 
1  · 
Jay1122

If you say it is ego. Let it be, I say it is passion. Just labels. Not gonna argue what is ego with you. Or care about being called ego or not.

May 4, 21 9:49 am  · 
 · 
Non Sequitur

Thanks for confirming it. You can have passion without ego.

May 4, 21 10:00 am  · 
 · 

Jay - ego and passion are completely different things.

Ego is a persons view of their own self importance

Passion is a strong feeling about something. 

Ego can be unjustified and dishonest, passion cannot.

May 4, 21 10:23 am  · 
1  · 
square.

i think passion can be coerced, but that's for another forum..

May 4, 21 11:06 am  · 
 · 

Anything can be coerced.

May 4, 21 11:14 am  · 
 · 

Based on size Jay is an expert on ego.

May 4, 21 11:21 am  · 
 · 
rcz1001

Passion can be interwoven with ego. Jay, you have both an ego and a passion. You have a passion for quality in architecture. That is not the issue nor is it the ego itself. The Ego is behind things like the statement: " so I will focus on what I care about. Not what my boss like." What makes you so important that you would focus on what you care about and not what your boss likes? You work for someone else which means by definition of being an employee, you should care about your boss. The same way the architect should within reason care about what the client likes and wants. Note: I said within reason. 

You should also likewise within reason care about what your boss wants. You serve others. That's the definition of an architect since the beginning of architecture. Architects are servants, not pharaohs, emperors, kings, etc. 

The profession has been since its conception about serving and being of service to others. That's an integral part of being a professional service. The plain cold reality is that if you only care about what you want and not what your boss or your client wants then you really don't belong in this business. Yes, some clients are irrational and you shouldn't care about or do what is irrational from an irrational client or boss but you should care enough to do what is rational and doable within the scope of likings of your boss or client. 

If you can't, then I'm going to call it like it is.... get the hell out of this occupation. If you want to be some self-indulged egotistical artist that cares only about your vision, be an artist and make art for art's sake. 

If you want to be in this architectural profession, you have to serve and that means you have to find a balance between your desires of good architecture and what your client and in case you are an employee, you serve your boss who is stamping the drawings. If you don't serve his/her/their interest, you would be unemployed soon enough. 

If the firm you are working at doesn't do the work you like to do, you can always apply for a job position at a firm that does work more in line with what you like to do and more in line with your passion. You always have a choice. 

While you might not be able to quit at a moments notice and have a job to instantly go into, you do have a choice like applying to other firms that do more of the kind of work that is in line with your passion and allow you to do more of that type of work and if you get the job, then you can give your resignation notice to your current boss when you have something secured. These are not the only choices you have. However, by definition of being an employee, you have a duty to serve your employer and your employer's wants. Unless you are the developer and the architect for your own development projects, you are going to have to serve someone else.


May 4, 21 11:36 am  · 
2  · 

Jay - you say you're paid a low salary to be a drafting machine. How much experience do you have and how much do you make?

May 4, 21 11:43 am  · 
 · 
tduds

Hope you find that middle ground, Jay.

May 4, 21 11:58 am  · 
 · 
rcz1001

"You work for someone else which means by definition of being an employee, you should care about your boss".... I probably want to rephrase that a little bit to: "You work for someone else under an employment agreement/contract which means by definition you are an employee." 

There are technical differences between the relationship between an architect / architectural firm and a client. However, the essential point I was making nonetheless remains the same. In the original way of saying it, I took a little literary liberty with some technical/legal differences but you serve others and will continue to even as an architect serving third-party clients under an independent contractor relationship versus a regular employment relationship. That's another discussion.


May 4, 21 12:32 pm  · 
 · 
Jay1122

Ya, RCZ, I should focus on what the boss likes. He likes money. The boss drives a 100k car with another separate convertible sports car. Goes to vacation multiple times a year. Not sure what house, but I bet it is fancy. I should draft the roof replacement projects harder working 60-80 hrs without pay so the boss can have a 200k car while I earn burger flipping wage. I wish I can get employee like you when I am the boss. The firm actually has overtime pay for unlicensed junior staff. And rarely need overtime. LOL shame on you starchitects. BTW, I am fine with not designing buildings myself, even thought I do like to. Only work on DD & CD is fine with me, the building just can't be shit wasting client's money that I loathe. As far as what I think is shit design, I won't discuss.

May 4, 21 1:45 pm  · 
 · 

I would soften what Rick has said. We all know we need to do what our bosses ask of us. There is no reason to work for free - EVER. If you work for a firm that requires unpaid overtime that you're never compensated for then you should quit.

As for doing what the boss wants . . .

Do what they have asked for and when done spend some of your after hours time to come up alternatives.  Show them to your boss and be clear that you did this on our own time.

On a side note - what do you consider 'burger flipping wages'?  The average pay (not counting large metro areas) for a first year intern is $36K.  I know you've recently passed your ARE's and will soon be licensed.  This should put you in the $58K range.  


May 4, 21 3:33 pm  · 
1  · 
tduds

Rick is like a paper architect, but for all of life and also the english language.

May 4, 21 3:39 pm  · 
1  · 
Jay1122

Chad, that firm was my 1st firm out of school. I was joking with Rick. I know what he meant. I did my part well. The two firms I worked so far gave me good performance reviews and good raises. I learned different stuff from that firm except design. I just got tired of doing roof replacement stuff. Rarely got opportunity for ground up. The current firm is still design limiting boxes with some roof replacement stuff. At least it is a 90M ground up. Can learn some other aspects and challenges in a large project. And better for portfolio if I want to move into other firms doing creative large ground up projects. As far as money wise, I think the salary is always meh in this field due to competition. The real money is in the license and business. That is probably what I will do later in life if I don't make it in creative architecture. Have intern spend 2 weeks drafting roof replacement drawings with details from library and charge clients $20K. Only hard part is getting the client.

May 4, 21 4:24 pm  · 
 · 

Jay - I'm sorry but this post is a bit confusing.

May 4, 21 6:36 pm  · 
 · 

Jay - based on your previous contradicting comments it's clear that you feel you are better at architecture than others in the firms you've worked for.

I would look at why other in your firm aren't recognizing your talents or listening to you ideas.  

May 4, 21 6:44 pm  · 
 · 
Jay1122

Chad, Not sure what is confusing. I never said I am better. Or care. If you are referring to my comments about the 10,000 facility. Oh man, I wish I could show you that building, that is beyond bad. Simple budget excuse won't be suffice. I believe in architecture more than making a pay check and basic code compliant boxes. My current firm does boring projects, there are no room for design or idea. It is what it is. They can't land a good project. You need a playfield to play. I don't even have a playfield yet. If you have a firm that will listen to team member's design input or have in office design critique. Then your firm definitely is doing good work already. It is always the arrogant shortsighted leadership that can't recognize or execute design qualities and refuse any critiques being the problem. Sometimes, seeing the bad is as important as seeing the good. Anyway, this WRNS firm's work on archinect front page right now is definitely my dream work. Higher Ed LEED box, hmm, my dream. I wish I could be in charge of doing those projects one day.

May 5, 21 9:28 am  · 
1  · 
midlander

that seems like a modest and reasonable aspiration. are you doing anything to try and get a job in a firm like that?

May 5, 21 9:33 am  · 
 · 

Jay- the contraction comment comes from how the tone of your posts vary wildly. One post you're saying how your firm and anyone that follows pragmatic building design is worthless. In the next post you're thanking your firm for providing you with pragmatic experience.

May 5, 21 9:53 am  · 
 · 
Jay1122

Trust me, I would love to join those firms and am trying to. But I know how competitive the field is. They probably get hundreds of applicants and rarely have openings. I don't have any networking connections to those firms either. Big corps firms also does good projects. But I feel like they will turn you into a small cog. I don't want to be stuck doing stair details or rendering or BIM or whatever specialist they have. I am a greedy man that wants to do all because it is more fun and better for professional development.

May 5, 21 9:57 am  · 
 · 

Jay - the type of design culture you're wanting is reasonable and not unique to high end firms. I'd say that most firms embrace the type of design culture you're looking for.

You don't have to work at a high end firm to do fun, creative projects.  Have you tried looking at medium sized firms (10-20 people)?  Because of their size you'd get to do a bit of everything yet still have the resources to land larger projects. 

Just a thought. 

May 5, 21 10:04 am  · 
2  · 
midlander

right. well this does fit the diagnosis then. best of luck to you.

May 5, 21 10:06 am  · 
 · 

?????

May 5, 21 10:06 am  · 
 · 
Jay1122

Chad. You are only reading and interpreting based on your point of view. It is not unusual to have conflicting interpretation from the author's actual expression. Or that I have poor writing skills. Could be. I do fast pew pew pew forum post. And honestly, I don't know what you are talking about regarding "how your firm and anyone that follows pragmatic building design is worthless". Ah whatever, don't even remember what I wrote yesterday. Anyway, I keep an open mind but I do have a preference and goal. I may not learn design skills from the first shit firm. But it sure showed me how to run a project efficiently to make big $$. Useful when I open my own shop. Also, as you already know. I don't like simple words and labels. "pragmatic building design is worthless" just does not sound right. I believe in more than black and white, there are many shades of grays. Knowing and understanding the shades of grays is what I care more about. Just like one extreme is pragmatic mere code compliant boxes, other side of extreme is academic manifestos. The true balance that I strive for lies some where in between them.

May 5, 21 10:09 am  · 
 · 

Since you don't like / understand simple words:

Pragmatic - dealing with things sensibly and realistically in a way that is based on practical rather than theoretical considerations

Building - I hope you know what this is. 

Design - decide upon the look and functioning of (a building, garment, or other object), by making a detailed drawing of it.


On a side note:  writing clearly and simply is a skill that as an architect you need to posses.  It's a difficult skill to learn.  

May 5, 21 10:33 am  · 
 · 
Jay1122

Your "pragmatic building design" may differ from my "pragmatic building design". To what point do you call it pragmatic, to what point is it not pragmatic. Where do you look at for such pragmatic label. Is it the form? is it the program? is it the floor ratio? is it construction type and assembly? is it materials? Anyway those are not questions for you, just my expression.

May 5, 21 10:49 am  · 
 · 

Look at the definition of the word and it's rather clear that any pragmatic design would be the same for anyone.

May 5, 21 11:01 am  · 
 · 
Jay1122

Nope, there may be a general consensus but not absolute. We could look at the same built building. You could say it is pragmatic, I would say it is theoretical. Well, a typical public school no one gives a second glance is most likely pragmatic. what about the WRNS project on the archinect page now. Is it pragmatic? Some may say yes, some may say no. It is still a normal shaped building, but those fancy overhangs, exposed structure, large glazing. Certainly is driven by some principles. Sustainability is what they say.

May 5, 21 12:10 pm  · 
 · 
rcz1001

"Ya, RCZ, I should focus on what the boss likes. He likes money. The boss drives a 100k car with another separate convertible sports car. Goes to vacation multiple times a year. Not sure what house, but I bet it is fancy. I should draft the roof replacement projects harder working 60-80 hrs without pay so the boss can have a 200k car while I earn burger flipping wage. I wish I can get employee like you when I am the boss. The firm actually has overtime pay for unlicensed junior staff. And rarely need overtime. LOL shame on you starchitects. BTW, I am fine with not designing buildings myself, even though I do like to. Only work on DD & CD is fine with me, the building just can't be shit wasting client's money that I loathe. As far as what I think is shit design, I won't discuss." 

First, I'll be clear, I am not saying work for free or accept being abused. Sometimes you have to accept putting up with less than stellar work experience until you secure a job at a better firm because you need a paycheck to pay the bills and have food. That's about practical reality which we can all agree is what we may have to do and to try to maintain some reasonable and amicable departure. I can understand you not appreciating working 60-80 hours without pay and nor should you. 

My points regarding focusing on what your boss likes, aside from money (we all love that, don't we?)...., is that your boss is an architect.... and stamps the drawings and will be liable to the project including any errors and omissions by those working for him/her because he or she is stamping the drawings.... owns the business that is contracted and so forth.  If you are unlicensed, he's liable to your actions as the firm owner and so would any architect stamping the drawings be it the firm owner or a project architect. You can't be held liable when you are unlicensed *AND* working as an employee to an architect. Things are different when you are working as an independent contractor such as a building designer working on a project for a client under a contract as an independent contractor. Different issues and liability can be decade(s) long.

There are things you can learn from the boss. You need to deliver and learn so as to be able to better prepare such so when you are licensed or otherwise go out on your own, you are better prepared for delivering the services even in difficult tight timelines. Clients can be that way. I was mainly pointing out the attitude and tone of the word choices you used in those prior posts because that can get you in trouble.

May 5, 21 1:25 pm  · 
 · 
rcz1001

Jay1122, I do appreciate that you caring for quality architectural design. I understand that you don't want to give clients' shit work. I respect that you are passionate about that. Just be careful that ego is kept in check.

May 5, 21 1:35 pm  · 
 · 
rcz1001

Jay1122, you'll likely want to someday work for a smaller firm (not necessarily a small firm but one where the size isn't so large that everyone is a specialist in a very small cog part of a project team of 100+ individual even for something that can be adequately done on a project team of 5-10 individuals that may even result in better work in the latter. It might be worth pursuing with the appropriate pay, of course. I think it comes down to getting into the right size firm that lets you be involved in a lot more than just one type of work. I'm guessing you don't to be typecasted into the CAD/BIM monkey door/window and roof detail specialist.

May 5, 21 1:46 pm  · 
 · 
rcz1001

Chad Miller, I think Jay1122 is saying: He prefers better quality architectural design and while he does not like the quality of the work at the current firm, he still appreciates the lessons he learned from the process that firm does for streamlining the process for projects on a more fast tracked delivery. Knowing this would allow him to apply this in project he may someday have as a client that will require more careful consideration. If he is clever, he could do quality design while applying some of the techniques for efficiency like having higher quality details and such that can be reused in multiple projects. It is possible. Some building designers working in residential work does that as well to optimize their work yet have some quality.

May 5, 21 1:56 pm  · 
 · 
rcz1001

Chad, Jay is right that there can be a variation in what will be considered pragmatic (or non-pragmatic).... opinions... right? While a dictionary definition may give you a broad or general guideline but what is pragmatic may vary. It also affected by budget scope. There may be consensus but there is some subjectivity to what is pragmatic even when there is some objective criterion but is there a singular criterion or is there many? That is where 'pragmatic' can be a moving target and also can be different for project type in addition to budget.

May 5, 21 2:02 pm  · 
 · 
rcz1001

My interpretation of 'pragmatic' would be one that certainly passes a feasibility analysis but also whether or not we are talking utilitarian in nature devoid of aesthetic artistry or one that is beautiful yet feasible and effective in serving its function and utility. In the past, I mentioned my view on function as not merely utility. There is where interpretations causes differences of opinion.

May 5, 21 2:07 pm  · 
 · 

Jay - Valid point. 

I would argue that definition of pragmatic in an architectural sense would mean using accepted and common means and methods in the building design.

May 5, 21 2:29 pm  · 
 · 
tduds

Like I said...

May 5, 21 2:30 pm  · 
 · 

What did you say tduds?

May 5, 21 2:31 pm  · 
 · 
tduds

Rick's walls of text as the english language version of paper architecture.

May 5, 21 2:35 pm  · 
 · 
tduds

Speaking ad infinitum *about* lived experience but very obviously not *from* lived experience.

May 5, 21 2:36 pm  · 
 · 

I like the 'about' and 'from' experience. 

May 5, 21 2:38 pm  · 
 · 
x-jla

I tell everyone this story.   It was the early 90’s.  I was in my late teens, teaching martial arts at my long time school.  A large biker guy came in with a big ego.  He had apparently been in many street fights and was very confident that he would do just fine.  My teacher at the time leaned into me and said “gotta break that spirit”. And he put him against a female 130 lb pro kickboxer.  The guy was like 6’2”, and probably around 250lbs.  She started moving around.  He was first shy to hit her, being that she is a she.  Then whack whack whack.  Like someone hitting a punching bag with a baseball bat.  Only, it was her shin cracking his stomach.  He threw up on himself and took about 30mins to regain his ability to breath.  Turned out to be the nicest guy.  My teacher knew one thing.  He would be useless and unable to learn if that ego wasn’t quickly cracked.   Years later, he laughed about that day and said that it was a turning point in his life.  


In architecture I’ve seen a similar type of ego in amateurs mostly.  It’s usually cracked when they actually try to design a small project through all phases.  This is why I think it’s essential to crack new comers by letting them try to handle a small project right off the bat. 

May 3, 21 12:40 pm  · 
2  · 
archi_dude

I always found the architecture ego to be similar to the artist or academic ego. We are soooooo smart about things most people don't even think about or could possibly comprehend. Look at how those fire sprinklers don't line up in this OTS ceiling in this family owned cafe...hmmmmyess so quaint, they tried though didnt they? Hmmmmmyess. Considering that architecture and art arent really that important in the grand scheme of things (a symmetrical layout of FS heads wont sell more coffee) theres this put down attitude of people just not being intelligent enough to comprehend why it's so important. People actually making cool stuff that's also being recognized generally have less in your face attitudes at least from what I've seen. 

May 3, 21 1:54 pm  · 
 · 

That Howard Roark has a huge ego

May 3, 21 3:15 pm  · 
2  · 
x-jla

I don’t think that’s the point of his character. He was not egotistical, but instead independent and true to his vision. That’s a necessary quality of all artists. Art by committee is yuck.

May 3, 21 3:26 pm  · 
 · 
tduds

You would defend Roark.

May 3, 21 3:36 pm  · 
4  · 
midlander

as did the author who invented him...

May 3, 21 7:40 pm  · 
2  · 

So many people have given me copies of The Fountainhead as gifts and it takes me everything I have to say Thank you instead of "WHY TF ARE YOU GIVING ME THIS"

May 4, 21 10:48 am  · 
6  · 
JLC-1

I didn't read the fountainhead until my early forties, a friend of mine was convinced he was roark; but he just married to money.

May 4, 21 10:56 am  · 
 · 
tduds

I don't think it's the *worst* book I ever read, but bottom 5 for sure. Insufferably dull prose in service of an insufferably dumb philosophy.

May 4, 21 11:59 am  · 
4  · 
midlander

i was a weirdly overliterate child and read atlas shrugged for a 7th grade book report simply because it was long. at the time i thought it was fantastic, and i was probably one of the most hardcore liberterians in my middle school class. i think that's why i have some empathy for earnest nonsense as a worldview.

May 4, 21 12:24 pm  · 
2  · 
x-jla

Lex Fridman...on his one of his podcasts talks about how Rands philosophy is completely misunderstood. Almost every critique I’ve heard of rand is “ego” based. I’ve heard a few good critiques that dive into the philosophy, but most are “hey look at me I’m too cool for rand because of this shallow surface reading of her materials”

May 4, 21 12:31 pm  · 
 · 
tduds

Rand's philosophy makes sense as a knee jerk reaction to the environment she grew up in. It's understandable, psychologically. Philosophically, it's garbage.

May 4, 21 12:36 pm  · 
3  · 
x-jla

Besides that, she’s oddly vilified. As a woman immigrant fleeing an authoritarian commie state who becomes a self made writer you’d think she would be celebrated at least for that. Meanwhile, the left celebrates an old racist xenophobic who’s illogical writings have led to hundreds of millions of deaths. Go figure.

May 4, 21 12:36 pm  · 
 · 
tduds

Be careful not to conflate criticisms of what someone says with criticisms of who they are.

May 4, 21 12:38 pm  · 
 · 
x-jla

Oh please explain what her philosophy is? Being selfish! Nope. More like...the culmination of may individuals following their own self interests, dreams, and ambitions leads to personal and collective progress. Proven mostly true by history btw. To the contrary, the philosophy she fled has been proven false by history.

May 4, 21 12:39 pm  · 
 · 
x-jla

I was never s rand fan personally...just found her books boring...I was more of a Orwell fan as a young person. I just don’t think Rands philosophy is what people claim it is. It’s far less rotten than it’s made out to be. She was quite progressive in many ways actually.

May 4, 21 12:42 pm  · 
 · 
midlander

history proves nothing but itself. might makes right, and in fair matches luck always wins.

May 4, 21 12:44 pm  · 
1  · 
tduds

"Oh please explain what her philosophy is?" Extreme individualism as a trauma response to the horrors of Soviet collectivism. Like I said, it makes sense psychologically. 

"Proven mostly true by history btw." Ehhhhhhhhhhh....

May 4, 21 12:48 pm  · 
2  · 
tduds

I think this holds true of many thinkers, that the individuals themselves were not so bad but the most ardent followers are by and large terrible.

May 4, 21 12:49 pm  · 
1  · 
rcz1001

By the time you're given your 500th copy of Fountainhead, you can open a small bookselling stand and sell those copies. If you get famous, you can sell it with your signature (when your signature has value) for a little more than the going price for the book.

May 4, 21 1:29 pm  · 
1  · 
x-jla

Tduds, you only have to look at art and architecture. Following ones Individual ambitions/curiosity/etc has led to almost everything good. Even if we go back to before classical liberalism and this idea of the “individual” as we know it...memorable and important art and architecture of antiquity is largely pursued by individuals following some individualistic ambitions, often against the grain/norms of the larger society...

May 4, 21 1:45 pm  · 
 · 
rcz1001

Don't you mean the individualistic ambitions of the client that is paying for it? Architects have mostly been pawns not kings in the chessboard of history. Except for the architects that can afford to design and build their own projects out of their own wallet, they have been nothing but pawns.

May 4, 21 1:50 pm  · 
 · 
x-jla

The important thing is to understand that radical individualism is not about being self centered. It’s as much about a collective of individuals where differences are celebrated as it is about being individualistic...has to exist on different levels. Rand didn’t explain that very well I think. The hippies did it better.

May 4, 21 1:51 pm  · 
 · 
rcz1001

In history, there have been only those that have (ie. Kings) and those that have little or not and are servants to serve the interest and further the purpose of their masters. In the chessboard of history and reality, like the board game, pawns can be (promoted) anything but not kings. There are the masters of the world and architects are not one of them.

May 4, 21 1:57 pm  · 
 · 
x-jla

RCZ, then explain where the novelty comes in. The architect is obviously not neutral. The architect is negotiating the clients ambitions, sometimes the societies ambitions, and often their own artistic ambitions. This is the root of innovation and novelty. Bees and Ants are eusocial. No novelty. No individualism. They are a collective species. Apes are tribal species,

May 4, 21 2:00 pm  · 
 · 
x-jla

And within that tribal structure they organize through the pursuit of hierarchy and individual ambitions. I think this is part of our nature. Rand was simply saying to just accept that and utilize it.

May 4, 21 2:01 pm  · 
 · 
rcz1001

There are always masters and servants. There will always be that in any civilization because without it, there will be no civilizations. Everyone will be their own chiefs but there will be no servants. Masters give orders but don't do for that is the role of servants. That is the purpose of servants... to serve in doing and furthering their master's purpose and agenda. Masters don't serve others. We are nothing but pawns to the masters that control the wealth (money and resources) of the world. While an employer may be a master to the employee but they are really pawns of a higher rank like all the other pieces on the chessboard other than the kings. The "kings" are those that control the money and the resources of which civilizations can even exist. Without the hierarchy, there will be people that won't do anything but give orders and no one that will do for others. They will be just self-serving at best and totally useless hapless corpses at the worst. There may be multiple ranks of pawns in this chessboard because for intent and purpose.... all pieces of the chessboard are "pawns" to the "king" (master). Every piece serves the king/master. In chess, they are to be sacrificed as needed and strategically to protect the king from the opposing king and their 'pawns' (all the other pieces including the Queen). The Queen piece can be said to be the 2nd in Command to the Master in the hierarchy of our world. In this case, I really am not talking about genders. I'm talking about an abstract correlation of 'chess' to 'reality' and to an extent the rank of architects in the grand scheme of things. We may be privileged pawns but nonetheless pawns in the greater scheme of things. All the pieces except the King are in effect a 'pawn'.

May 4, 21 2:24 pm  · 
 · 
tduds

.

May 4, 21 2:33 pm  · 
7  · 

Why did I have to comment and create yet another x-jla/Balkins clusterf**k? Sorry all. I'll serve my punishment by writing "I like Patrik Schumacher" on a blackboard.

May 4, 21 6:09 pm  · 
4  · 
tyth

Josh, my thread got Balkined and you are to blame. Leave PaSchu out of this.

May 4, 21 6:55 pm  · 
1  · 
citizen

And this is why we can't have nice things.

May 4, 21 8:25 pm  · 
 · 
rcz1001

It was already that way when I got here.

May 5, 21 1:07 pm  · 
 · 
randomised

people have egos.

May 3, 21 3:29 pm  · 
 · 
tduds

I killed mine.

May 3, 21 3:35 pm  · 
1  · 
Non Sequitur

Hey leggo my eggo


May 3, 21 3:38 pm  · 
4  · 

My ego has been beaten down by being brought up Catholic. Whatever survived was destroyed by being Minnesotan.

May 3, 21 3:39 pm  · 
4  · 
tduds

That's one way. I just ingested a lot of substances in my 20s.

May 4, 21 12:00 pm  · 
2  · 
randomised

I think both your egos are well alive and kicking (it)...

May 5, 21 10:04 am  · 
 · 
tduds

it comes and goes

May 5, 21 12:48 pm  · 
 · 
citizen

I blame it on le Francais.

CSC 110 - LEGO - Benjamin Dicken


May 3, 21 4:02 pm  · 
3  · 
Non Sequitur

It's always the french.

Égoïste.jpg

May 3, 21 4:08 pm  · 
2  · 
nilapavingworks

Every job has its own glory I do not believe that an architect is a job that everyone can do because architecture needs its own ideas It does not have to be for everyone So seeing an architect is a big deal Make sure the salary is good.

May 5, 21 10:54 am  · 
 · 
tintt

Checking back in to see if you guys have figured it out yet. 

May 5, 21 2:59 pm  · 
 · 

nope, though the thread seems to be a good case study for anyone trying to get to the bottom of it.

May 5, 21 3:16 pm  · 
 · 
Non Sequitur

Is there really a bottom if the digging never stops?

May 5, 21 3:27 pm  · 
 · 

No stupid - dig up!

May 5, 21 4:35 pm  · 
1  · 
tduds

.

May 6, 21 12:15 pm  · 
1  · 
JLC-1

this is EGO


May 6, 21 1:13 pm  · 
 · 

Who wrote that?

May 6, 21 1:58 pm  · 
 · 
JLC-1

3rd page, first paragraph

http://architecturesurvey.weeb...

May 6, 21 2:02 pm  · 
 · 
Non Sequitur

It's from AMO's Content publication:


May 6, 21 2:09 pm  · 
1  · 
randomised

That’s his observation not his design philosophy... http://www.undisciplinary.com/rem_koolhaas

May 6, 21 2:16 pm  · 
 · 

JCL-1 - oh that insufferable brat.


May 6, 21 2:17 pm  · 
 · 
JLC-1

That’s his observation not his design philosophy... http://www.undisciplinary.com/...

Is this you, rem?

May 6, 21 2:26 pm  · 
 · 
randomised

Rem is more!

May 6, 21 3:24 pm  · 
1  · 
randomised

My reply of MAY 6, 21 2:16 PM was meant to be for the “fuck context” of 1:13PM, it took me a while to press send and now the context of my reply is fucked!

May 6, 21 3:58 pm  · 
1  · 
JLC-1

fuck bandwidth!

May 6, 21 5:07 pm  · 
 · 

Don't let the internet hear you say that. It will be upset . . .

May 6, 21 5:10 pm  · 
1  · 
zonker

ego sets in when one becomes "Peter principled", and increases to  the inverse proportion of the degree of incompetence/obsolescence

May 6, 21 2:22 pm  · 
2  · 
apkouv

That's exactly how you got yours, Miles. You didn't earn the architect status like the rest of us, but instead you inherited it from your dad along with an entitled ego.

May 7, 21 3:15 pm  · 
 ·  2
Non Sequitur

why do you exist again?

May 7, 21 3:16 pm  · 
1  · 
tduds

I've never considered Miles very egotistical. Opinionated, confrontational, and brash? Sure. Egotistical? No.

May 7, 21 3:27 pm  · 
2  · 

apukeov, you omitted the part of that post that refers directly to you "outsized ego is a desperate (and transparent) attempt to cover up a complete lack of ability."

Along those lines, when are you going to post up some work and show us what a masterful architect you are?

May 8, 21 4:17 pm  · 
 · 
apkouv

My work is the intellectual property of the firms where I have been employed. Posting work would compromise my anonymity, so don't expect me to be dragged into a showdown of ego in a desperate attempt to salvage your credibility, Miles. The case is that contrary to the rest of us, you have never been an architect and will never be one. Rich entitled kid? Sure. Architect? No.

May 8, 21 4:30 pm  · 
 ·  2
Non Sequitur

Nothing interesting to see here I guess. I’m sure Apk is not even licensed.

May 8, 21 5:11 pm  · 
 · 
apkouv

Miles is the one without a license. He took the shortcut to becoming an architect, because he wanted it easy.

May 8, 21 6:52 pm  · 
 · 

I took a shortcut to becoming an architect without a license?

Are you stupid? [Rhetorical question alert]

May 8, 21 7:33 pm  · 
2  · 
Non Sequitur

Apk, so thanks for confirming that you’re not licensed. I also don’t recall miles making the claim that he was one either.

May 8, 21 7:55 pm  · 
 · 

Apkouv is the new Balkins, but much more of a butthead

May 8, 21 10:25 pm  · 
 · 
midlander

he seems more like a stilted ex, irrationally bitter and emotional over issues invisible to the rest of us. i've never had the impression miles considers himself an architect - just an observer and friendly critic of what we do.

May 9, 21 1:12 am  · 
1  · 
apkouv

Architecture is tough and certainly not for the likes of people who want it easy. You may be rich and a have a well-connected family, but you won't become an architect if you are not worthy. People are not just going to hand it out to you, in the same way that your father did, Miles.

May 9, 21 10:31 am  · 
 ·  1
tintt

apkouv, Miles is kind, smart, and friendly as well as capable and knowledgable about the field. You might give it up. 

May 9, 21 12:15 pm  · 
1  · 

Apkouv - shut up Jay1122.

May 9, 21 4:25 pm  · 
 · 
JLC-1

I had forgotten this definition





May 8, 21 12:34 pm  · 
 · 
JLC-1

can't upload pics from the phone x 100 times, like bart simpson.

Inés Martín Rodrigo on Twitter | Frank gehry, Gehry, Architecture today

May 8, 21 5:09 pm  · 
 · 

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