daily prompt: naked with black socks

Are you comfortable in front of people, or does the idea of public speaking make you want to hide in the bathroom? Why?

Finally, a daily prompt question I can relate to. Lately they’ve been more about writing creative stories and….well, this is an architecture blog, not a creative writing blog. BUT today, we’re talking about being naked….wait…no, we’re talking about public speaking. Yeah, we’ll go with that.

When I started college I was shy. No, seriously. 😐 I wasn’t the outgoing, energetic, ever-positive guy I am today. I was a major introvert. Anyone who has ever seen the inside of any architecture department in the WORLD knows introverts have two options:

A) drop out and teach high school art classes

B) become not-introverted REAL quick

I chose option B. It wasn’t easy and it took the first 2, almost 3, years of college before I really came out of my shell and took hold of this whole public speaking thing. And it wasn’t entirely by choice. At SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design for those who don’t know) you gave a presentation in most of your architecture courses at least once a week. Every other class at least once or twice a quarter. It was serious trial by fire, sink or swim, pick a metaphor.

So, I went from being terrified of speaking in public, even small group settings like my studios, to ENJOYING public speaking and presenting my work, or just talking to people in a crowded bar. And this is incredibly important in practice because, as an architect, you have to be able to speak clearly, calmly and confidently about yourself and your work to clients, engineers, consultants, product reps, board members, city officials, review panels, public hearings…the list goes on. You either get good at it, if you’re not already, or you will most likely find yourself behind a desk until you do.

Daily Prompt: 180 Degrees

Tell us about a time you did a 180 — changed your views on something, reversed a decision, or acted in a way you ordinarily don’t.

In the field of architecture, you lead two lives. These lives are not simultaneous, nor do they overlap. There is an order to them – one must come before the other. And the former will not prepare you adequately for the latter. These two lives that we lead in architecture are education and practice.

Eichberg Hall - Architecture Studio - Savannah College of Art and Design

Eichberg Hall – Architecture Studio – Savannah College of Art and Design

In education we are taught how to design, how to craft space and light, solid and void. We are taught the precedents of history and then taught to ignore them. We are taught that anything is possible, though leaving out the two most important factors to that statement – Time and Money. We’re taught that anything can be built with a miraculous material called Anti-gravitonium, glass in a universal building material with magical structural properties, and polished cast in place concrete is the only acceptable opaque material that can be formed in ANY shape conceivable…again, irregardless of Time and Money.

In education we explore the sometimes completely unrealistic limits of architectural design and theory. Our imaginations are stretched beyond their limits and sometimes beyond the limits even of Hollywood. We come to think, after years of this experimentation, that life beyond academia will be “just like studio”.

That life abruptly ends day one, minute one of our first internship. Our life takes a 180 and we crash headlong into the face of practice. The practice of architecture is not even really a 180. It’s more like you used to live on Mars. Now you’ve come back to earth where things actually have to make sense, fit within budgets and schedules, be buildable, and most importantly they have to stand up. Because in the real world where cyanoacrylate is not your major joining compound, buildings really do have to work, to stand up. Otherwise they will, and do, fall down. Usually with people in them. And that’s bad.

an architects office - life of an architect (looks way too clean)

an architects office – life of an architect (looks way too clean)

Our life in architecture begins with education. This life quickly dies upon graduation and is reborn in practice. This, for me, is real life, real education, real architecture. These two lives are not simultaneous, nor do they overlap. There is an order to them – one must come before the other. But in practice, this is where the real fun begins.