After a short hiatus (alright, really it’s just been some good old-fashioned studio-comes-first neglect) plusarchitekt is back and I thought it might be fun/interesting/different to feature content based on YOUR requests instead of my own studies and general online wanderings. So shoot me a suggestion, request, or a hostile demand and I’ll do my best to find something interesting that might get your designer parts all hot and bothered.
Le Corbusier at work in his studio-apartment in Paris, France, c. 1960.
Photos by René Burri via Phaidon
The Indicator: 101 Things I Didn’t Learn in Architecture School
- Do not drink at work and especially do not get toasted around your colleagues under any circumstances.
- Once you leave architecture school not everybody cares about architecture or wants to talk about it.
- All eating habits and diets acquired during school should be jettisoned.
- The hygiene habits you kept in architecture school are inappropriate for real life; bathe regularly and change your underwear.
- The rush and exhilaration you experience in studio may be inversely proportional to how much you will enjoy working for a firm.
- It’s architecture, not medicine. You can take a break and no one will die.
- Significant others are more important than architecture; they are the ones who will pull you through in the end.
- Call your loved one’s frequently.
- If you are working overtime, the firm buys dinner (contingent on office policies, of course).
- Get the biggest monitor you can.
- Do not, however, ask for two monitors. Even though it makes you look like a bad-ass you will be expected to do twice the amount of work.
- At times respect and civility seem to be scarce commodities in architecture.
- Be cautious of “opportunities” that do not pay.
- Sometimes the most critical person on your jury might actually be right.
- Pyromania, car soccer, and other antics you made up to amuse yourself at 3 am are not actually normal.
- Be suspicious if your firm expects you to work long hours of overtime for no compensation. Be doubly suspicious if they justify it by saying things like, “It’s just part of the learning curve” or “We had to go through this, too.”
- If a police officer pulls you over on the freeway for doing 90 mph on a Sunday morning while heading into the office, it’s time to re-evaluate your priorities.
- Architecture firms can have multiple glass ceilings. Be aware of them all.
- If a principal of a firm sees making coffee or moving boxes as beneath him/her, consider looking for another office.
- If a principal doesn’t say good morning when you say good morning to him/her, consider looking for another office.
- If you are invited to be on a jury, don’t trash the student just to make yourself look good or to contradict a rival on the jury. Be constructive and try to help the student. This is the point.
- If you are an architect you should automatically qualify for psychotherapy and medication.
- Most architects believe they were destined to become architects because of their early childhood experiences. They showed signs of architectural greatness at a very young age. This is a myth that reinforces an unhealthy hero complex.
- All firms are different. Shop.
- Architects who do not build things also have important things to say and should be listened to.
- Do not obsess about sustainability to the exclusion of other factors.
- Keep in touch with everyone you know, especially if they aren’t in architecture.
- In fact, make friends who are not architects.
- Expect a period of post-traumatic stress disorder after you graduate. Do not make any important decisions during this time.
- Architecture is fueled by fetishes—rectilinear designer eye-wear, for instance.
- Even if you don’t like the look of someone’s architecture they may have something valuable to teach you.
- In one’s life there are a finite number of all-nighters one can pull. You probably used them all up in school.
A few of my favorites from Guy Horton and Sherin Wing’s sometimes funny and sometimes depressing response piece to Matthew Frederick’ bestselling 101 Things I Learned in Architecture School via Archdaily
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe at his Chicago apartment with a painting by Paul Klee and a sculpture by Pablo Picasso.
A new headquarters for the New York Times newspaper was commissioned via invited competition in 2000. RPBW’s winning design opens up a neglected corner of Manhattan opposite the Port Authority, with a 52-storey building whose themes of permeability and transparency express the intrinsic link between the newspaper and the city.
Unknown Photographer, Construction View of Moshe Safdie’s “Habitat 67”, Montreal, Canada, (1964-1967)
A view of one of the many factory produced cubic volumes being inserted into Safdie’s accumulation.
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969) | Collage | Mansion House Square, N° 1 Poultry, London (Unrealized Project) | Commissioned by Lord Palumbo and rejected in planning | 1967 | Photo: Hedrich Blessing Collection
Design for Adam department store in Berlin (1928) by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.
Eight floors tall with rounded edges, the glazed facade was to provide a thoroughly modern experience for the company and replace the old building. Franz Schulze’s and Edward Windhorst’s “Mies Van Der Rohe: A Critical Biography”, quotes Mies describing the project to the client:
“You have indicated in your requirements that in general a building with vertical articulation would conform to your tastes. May I say in all frankness that in my opinion a building has nothing to with taste but must be the logical result of all requirements that result from its purpose. …You need layered floor levels with clear uncluttered spaces. Furthermore, you need much light. You need publicity and more publicity.”
Tugendhat Chair - Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Armchair - Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Alessandro Anselmi’s design for a resort in Marne-la-Vallee, a small town near Paris, France, c. 1978
Image courtesy of the AAM Gallery