Tried to get away from architecture.. but i'm drawn right back


I took a break from architecture working in another field for two years.. Though I despised architecture when I left, I kept being drawn back to architecture.  Something was missing while away from it.  It wasn't stressful but more depressing, like something was lost in my life.  As tough and stressful architecture is, I feel like I have a purpose in life when at it, like I'm contributing to something meaningful and good in life.

Anyone else ever felt that way?  have thoughts of leaving architecture for good?

guess i'm shackled to this profession for life.

Sep 13, 13 3:19 am

solution: "hi, my name is accesskb and i'm an architect."

Sep 13, 13 7:28 am

Well to me this is one more reason to get licensed.  Even if I leave architecture - which I'm slowly doing in my career right now - being a registered architect means I always have a connection, practically and emotionally. It feels good.

Sep 13, 13 8:27 am

I've had the same experience. When it's good it's great but when it's bad you just want to do something else entirely.

The only metaphor I can think of for my relationship with architecture is Elizabeth Taylor's marriages.

Sep 13, 13 9:25 am

I've quit architecture cold turkey twice so far in my career. The first time to be a futures and options trader, the second to run a private equity fund. Apparently I'm like a heroin addict or something, because I couldn't go more than a year and half without getting all twitchy without a pen and trace in my hands. Inevitably, I fell of the wagon. 9 months the first time, 20 months the second. Architecture, why can't I quit you?

We need a 12-step program.

Sep 13, 13 2:24 pm

I can empathize.  I have taken a strategic detour, always with the intent to return to architecture and integrate the new domain knowledge.  The new domain is working out better than I had hoped.  It has lots of growth, better pay, better quality of life, is easier work, and I like it a lot.  If this were only about a job, I would never look back.  And yet I am beginning the uphill climb of getting back into the struggling, volatile profession of architecture and bringing my new domain knowledge with me. 

I left architecture once before to work in a steel shop for 1 1/2 years, too.   It was worthwhile and continues to inform my thinking years later.

Sep 13, 13 2:37 pm

This is an interesting topic.

A lot of people love architecture in one form or another.  Most don't take the huge step to make it their profession.  For all those folks, there are mountains of great (and not-so-great) books as well as lectures, museums, preservation groups, historical societies, architectural appreciation courses, and architecture tours of every description.  So there's a vast infrastructure for all those who love architecture, buildings, sites and landscapes... who then go back to work on Monday at a more conventional occupation.

Then there are those of us (un?)fortunates compelled to make rather than just visit. We make objects, make drawings, make buildings, make spaces, make books, and make presentations. It's not enough just to think about or visit architecture on the weekends. We seem to need to do this as part of our daily work.  Blessing?  Curse?  Yes.

Sep 13, 13 6:39 pm

Don't you think it's rather like being a crack whore who's trying to kick the habit ?

Sep 13, 13 6:58 pm

I once heard that there were 3 ingredients to job satisfaction, and I remember one as being related to the sense of control over the output, or its being tangible.  I forgot the other 2.  Well, architecture certainly has that ingredient dialed.  Honestly, I would think that, in another job, that element might be missing.  I think than an architect who went over to being an urban planner, of the policy and research variety, would blow a gasket.

Would I do it again?  Some days yes, and some days no.  But it's too late.  I think that this 4+2 system might be cool, in a way, because you can bail out in 4, get architecture out of your system, and go off to do something else.  If one went to a comprehensive enough program, they could design and critique smaller buildings or homes, know how to discuss architectural history and dissect building elements, know building system options, know how to compute thermal values of building envelopes and footcandle levels, and also know how structural elements behave under loads.  Voila, you can now fucking x-ray most buildings you drive past.  Are you happy?  So then, you could go do something else.  I might have chosen to teach a couple of the popular foreign languages at the secondary level.  There, the tangible part is when you give out the grades and the As and Bs will tell you those kids absorbed what you taught them, with some inevitable theatrics and high drama thrown into the mix.

To me, 35 hours per week in an intangible job would be more stressful than 50 hours per week doing traditional and varied architectural duties, and I don't mean the glad handing and cocktail party circuit sketching on napkins.  I prefer some structure.  The bullshitters like it more free-form.  Needless to say, I find bullshitters somewhat annoying.

Sep 13, 13 6:59 pm

Hi, my english is not so good, I'm architect from Venezuela. I pass through the same situation. I started other career (Marketing), but i'm back to architecture, the knowledge they acquired in the area of ​​marketing, help me more in architecture when selling a project. I think is very important have much knowledge in other areas for a create project to  appropriate user and understand their needs.

Nov 5, 13 9:23 am

I agree, arq.Mari.  Detours to other fields can definitely teach one more about being a good architect.

Nov 5, 13 9:57 am

We call such people "boomerangs" in my office, which applies not only to people who return from other firms after having left our firm earlier on, but also to those who went back to school to get unrelated degrees or sought a different line of work.  There are a few former bankers, teachers, journalists, even those with MBA's. They remind me that as bad as we think we have it, that we are actually doing pretty well and that there is an undeniable level esteem that our profession enjoys. Other than issues of pay, of hours, and of constant job insecurity, it's still a rewarding thing to do.

Nov 5, 13 11:54 am

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