Sunday, November 30, 2014

Life of an Architect - It's not Hollywood!

I love how architects are always portrayed in Hollywood. Suave, debonaire, and nearly always affluent.  There is a fair list, from the Fountainhead with Gary Cooper, to Inception with Leonardo DiCaprio, to Indecent Proposal with Woody Harrelson. Movies with Architects As with nearly all things in Hollywood, the real life of an architect I think (I know)  is quite different - with the exception we really are at the drawing table - if not way more than portrayed on film.


We do have lives and wives and children and interesting clients, collaborators, builders, and stories…..oh the stories. Of course those are confidential. Well - at least most of them :-). My life has been filled with such interesting people who have done amazing things with their lives. And the honor it is to design the personal spaces for these people is truly hard to fathom. Frankly, the fact is I truly get to know people so well and how they sleep, eat, entertain, make love….seriously it gets personal. To capture all of this into a set of plans takes time - a lot of time. I love when I get a cold call for an inquiry and the first question is. "How fast can I get a set of plans"….. always followed immediately after by, "and how much will the plans cost." I usually want to say, "Pull up to the next window and oh would you like us to supersize the fries?" Here's a hint - we do not draw a set of plans. Our job is to capture a way of living and enhance and accentuate how a person or family lives with the home we design with them! To do this take time!!! Lot's of time.




Hence the life of an architect is filled with work. A lot of time on the board. I live on my board. And as any artist knows the time you spend on your art takes away from your time from life and an artist needs life to create art…… such a dilemma and all of you architects and artists and craftsmen out there know exactly what I am talking about. Now I'm sure its the same for a lot of other jobs or careers. And frankly, I may be sitting at my desk in my air conditioned office with a cup of coffee if early in the morning and a nice cab if in the evening drawing thousands of roof tiles…..while someone is going to have to someday lay all of these tiles on a 110º roof - so my job is not that tough. But we are not out racing cars and solving mysteries as we are depicted in Hollywood …..we are working.

Then there are the people who have to live and work with us….. that is tough and I commend anyone who is or has been married to an architect. It is not easy. I remember my late mentor, George Christensen, tell me, "Architecture is a demanding mistress!" How right he was. He never married - he was married to his architecture and his life as an architect. If we are not on the boards we are at meetings or client functions. Even when we aren't on the board we are thinking about our projects and clients - it never stops. We are technically always on the clock. I love my wife and I love my work. Luckily, my Isabel let's me work and understands what I do. That doesn't mean we still don't have some wonderful time together - we do everything we can to get some good alone time! Same with my girls - softball and basketball practice, Art and Soul acting, school, sleepovers, etc.



In other words, at least this architect lives a pretty average American life. I drive a Prius, live in a 2500 sf patio home, love to fish and camp and ride horses with my Scottsdale Charro brothers on the one hand and put on the tux and go to the Heart Ball on the other - sometimes all in the same day. I can be designing a 20,000 sf home in the morning, running the girls to a game after school, grab dinner and a glass of wine with Isabel in the evening and then finish up the night working on a small closet addition. Every day and every client and project is different. It's not Hollywood  but I LOVE IT. 

2 comments:

Liana Sofia Tumino said...

Very much enjoyed reading this post as your on screen life/work seems pretty darn glamorous! How blessed we are to have those around us that embrace and understand the inner workings of the creative spirit. Not always an easy task! Auguri for striking what seems to be a wonderful balance! You must be doing something right, bravo!

Mark Candelaria said...

Thanks for following us. Get ready for an equally busy 2015!!! Wishing you all the best.