work fast, relax last – lets blog off

This week’s “Lets Blog Off” asks “What do you do to relax?”…. First, I don’t think many architects know HOW to relax, or maybe they just don’t have the right perspective, but I’ll talk more about that in a minute.  My first thought upon reading this weeks’ topic was something my current boss said to me during one of my interviews, and that was that “you have to have something outside of architecture so you don’t get burned out.”  I remember thinking, as I still do, that this was a strange statement coming from someone who owns and manages their own architecture firm (notice I didn’t throw in the word “design” there? we don’t do much of that here).  It seems to me that, in order to maintain yourself in any profession, especially a creative one, you have to have a passion for that profession.  It needs to be a part of you, a part of your daily life and not just your “job”. – feel free to stop me if you think I’m completely nuts-o –  Otherwise, very quickly I imagine, you will get burned out and wind up talking to squirrels and pigeons in the park wearing a foil hat….not that there is anything wrong with that *backs away slowly*

So what do architects do to relax?  Speaking for myself personally….well, “relaxation” comes in many different forms and unfortunately not very often.  I try to keep my “method” of relaxation open to interpretation.  This allows me to find down time in the most unassuming places.  But, no matter what I’m currently engaged in as my “relax” time, you can bet your ass my sketchbooks are not only CLOSE at hand, they are most likely IN my hand.

stacked, well worn and always at hand

Because “architecture” and “design” are part of who I am.  This isn’t a hobby or a job or even a career choice.  So “relaxation”, for me, is simply sitting quietly on a bus or a park bench or at my desk or on a plane or even on the john sketching or writing or just “doing” architecture.

An old saying that comes to mind is “if you love what you do you’ll never work a day in your life.”  Does it really get any simpler than that?  I don’t think so.

3 thoughts on “work fast, relax last – lets blog off

  1. Architects tend to be glued and married to their profession most passionately-I’m afraid to say more than other professionals. Most architects are not fairly compensated but if one would tow that then the architects life will be like grinding @ the mills.
    I like your style though-Sketch pad and pencil-sketching away @ every opportunity – but I would that architects develop pastimes that will inculcate other varieties-just like your boss counseled -something outside architecture.
    From experience I have derived joy most times at design puzzles and synthesis getting solved in an intuitive subconscious level that it seems almost magical.
    I believe we have a lot more to tap from the higher realm and plane of the spiritual and subconscious than slaving it out on the logical conscious plane always.
    I hate the zero energy level that sets in after a project’s deadline submission.
    I enjoy playing with my teenage children and watching movies- a game of chess sometimes or just soccer anything that can make me laugh off the stress of working life.

  2. This is a great post and topic for discussion. For me. escape is being with my family on a daily basis. However, I must leave not only my house and office, but my hometown to truly relax. So traveling is a great…ok, the destination, not the driving. But then sketching or some architectural or photographic related event is relaxing to me because I choose to do it rather than have to do it. We become architects because we love it and we want to get paid to do what we would be doing anyway. However, to escape deadlines and the dry parts of the profession are certainly a relief. I don’t suppose anyone details bathrooms or checks shop drawings as a way to relax.

    • I will freely admit that I actually have spent time sketching out design solutions to tricky bathroom arrangements. Sometimes I truly do think that I am a creature unto myself. I spent 3 1/2 hours last night updating floor plans, rcp’s, mechanical and electrical layouts for a office training center expansion and it was awesome! Though I think the awesome part was that I wasn’t working for my boss but for myself on a side project.
      I’m not one that typically gets bogged down in what others call the “humdrum” of architecture – i.e. specs and field reports and site visits and construction details. I actually enjoy those things if I’m allowed the freedom to learn and explore the construction process.
      Perhaps that’s just me?… 🙂

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