Architect turned ... ?
July 1, 2012 6:42 AM   Subscribe

“Architecture, of all the arts, is the one which acts the most slowly, but the most surely, on the soul”

From an architect exhausted from the rat race and wondering what other past architects have transitioned into?

Keeping the question general to gain a broader perspective of experiences.

Thank you for your time.
posted by oink to Work & Money (6 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
A quick look at the history of Italian architecture from the Middle ages to Modern time shows that the architect went from being an experienced construction foreman (Middle ages), to city planner and engineer (Renaissance), to landscape designer (16th century), to Object designer (Industrial era), while always maintaining the escape to pure art as a way out. In other words the architect often left "designing to please others" to reach the freedom of "designing to please self".

Maybe you could try working with your hands. A young architect who was recently laid off is supporting himself by doing remodeling jobs. He has just finished redesigning and remodeling my bathroom, and he is seriously considering remodeling as a profession.
posted by francesca too at 8:49 AM on July 1, 2012

Are you sick of working in design in general, or simply feeling burned-out by private practice?

If you think it might be the latter, you could look into teaching architecture at the college level.

I'm trained in landscape architecture - though it's not architecture, we do have similar cultures and over-work habits. I worked in a landscape firm for a few years after getting my MLA, then transitioned to teaching - and never looked back.

I'd found that practice was not quite my cup of tea: office expectations (hours, environments, etc.) don't make me very happy, and I missed the creative energy and idealism of school. As it turns out, I absolutely love teaching. I still get to work in design, but now I'm contributing in a way that I love. It is a ton of work and responsibility - but the intensity is of a very different kind and character than that of private practice.

(For what it's worth, I'm now in a PhD program - I'll be returning to teaching once I'm done.)
posted by marlys at 9:01 AM on July 1, 2012

What aspects are you burned out from? A number of architects I know work as PMs in construction firms, industry or government (managing the whole team and acting as client rep - no design). I know an ex-architect spec writer, furniture designer, and at least three ex-architect photographers.
posted by jamesonandwater at 9:25 AM on July 1, 2012

Urban planning.
Garden design.
Industrial design.
Theater Stage design.
World design for computer games.
Movie set design.
Restaurant (or any store) design.
3D printing design.
Building contractor.
Real estate broker.
Art gallery owner.
Model builder.
posted by bru at 9:47 AM on July 1, 2012

More specifically interested in people, who used to be architects (or studied architecture) and are now doing something different, and the path they took.

Currently cannot seem to think outside the box.

Somewhat influenced by people close to me who want me to stick to the stability of the standard route. Which makes sense except for the fact that I am not happy in my current position.
posted by oink at 10:18 AM on July 3, 2012

Are you sick of working in design in general, or simply feeling burned-out by private practice?

Combination of both: colleagues who have many more experiences lament consistently the downsides of practising architecture (long hours, low pay, no life ...), manager who micromanages everything (his drawings should only be stapled top left corner twice) and feeling somewhat pessimistic about what the future (climb the ladder and morph into my manager?! *shudder*).

What aspects are you burned out from?

Being surrounded by negative people; design destroyed by clients; questioning my ability in general to get anything worthwhile done as there has been setbacks in my projects which are outside of my control but I feel responsible (if only ...) as I get emotionally attached to every project I do.

My work sucks the happiness out of me.

I have being looking for work and looking for inspiration from others who have found happiness outside of being an architect.

Thank you.
posted by oink at 10:38 AM on July 3, 2012

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