My two Cents: Staying In love with Architecture

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‘Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails‘ 1st Corinthians 13:4-8

Architecture is for the most part a passionate vocation. It can be highly successful when you passionately undertake it. Falling in love with it is the easy part, be it for the money, power, the art, the science or whatever that drew you to study or practice architecture.

Staying in love on the other hand is indeed the hard part of any relationship including yours with architecture. So, in the spirit of valentines, I drew up my to do list that has helped me keep the fire burning…

1) POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT

Most of the time we slowly detach from our dream to practice architecture due to lack of positive reinforcement. We work and work and receive little to no recognition. It is normal as human beings to crave recognition for any work we do, especially if we sacrifice our resources doing it. I recall waiting for lecturers to notice the fabulous design I worked on a whole straight 48hours. If they did I would profusely keep improving, but if they did not, the fire would slowly start to burn out.

The secret is to acknowledge yourself. Take some time to celebrate small milestones like beating a deadline (and by celebrate, I mean shake your own hand, smile at yourself or just say YES!) a little goes a long way. You can also create a design wall and pin-up designs you have worked on and are proud of. This takes the power of keeping your love for architecture alive from other peoples hands and places it in yours.

2) PERSONALIZE IT

Remember the design philosophy you would be asked in many presentations? This I have come to realize is a very important part of design and architecture in general. It describes your innermost desire as relating to architecture and gives a clear indication of the goal you are working towards. It is like giving eyes to your relationship with architecture and this opens up your possibilities. And each time you achieve these goals you get the feel-good hormones that keep that fire burning.

3) ENJOY IT

Practice parts of architecture that you enjoy recreationally. This is more or less like spending quality time with your vocation without the pressures of professional or academic practice. Enjoy the process as much as you can, sketch, design pseudo-projects, render old projects, help out a relative in constructing their project. This ensures you enjoy moments practicing architecture.

4) READ AND RESEARCH

Continually collecting information about the practice you love not only keeps you knowledgeable about it but ensures that you can effectively put into practice what you know.

5) PATIENCE AND PERSEVERANCE

As with any normal relationship in life there will be trying times. A client may ditch you, you might get fired from your job, you might fail an exam and find yourself sitting out for a year or you might even be unable to qualify for the degree course after your form four exams. All these are just but important setbacks that we should embrace and learn from and look for alternative routes around them. Be patient and work on getting to your architectural bliss. Even if it is one project, that is enough to push you to work towards another. Persevere the hard times, remember, good things come to those who wait (and work their asses off and never give up).

Enjoy your valentines and rekindle your love for architecture. But most of all, remember, this is just my two cents.

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