When I grow up…
I always wanted to be an architect. From the time I was about 10 years old, I knew what I wanted to do, but I didn’t know it had a name. I wanted to design houses. At that age, I never knew that a professional who designed buildings was called an architect, all I understood was that I really liked to draw and I couldn’t stay away from doodling house plans. I would go with my parents to view model homes after church on Sundays, and we would end up with a folder full of house plans from each builder we visited. I would take those plans home and sketch over them, redesigning portions or completely starting over if I thought the design was bad. I’d show my parents my ‘improvements’ I had made to the spec homes, and they’d ask, “But what will the roof line look like? No one will be able to afford it!”. It was their way of telling me that complicated roof lines are expensive. But I was 10, so my retort was, “I’ll just have to find rich clients then!”. In my world, I was going to design what I wanted, and I would just wait for the right client to come along to pay for it all.
Once I hit high school, I wasn’t as sure what I wanted to do in life. I had lots of interests: music, art, writing, psychology and medicine, law… I didn’t know which would be best for a career. Sure, I had always liked drawing house plans, but I had to make money some how. It wasn’t until my senior year that I really took a good look at each profession and researched what it meant to take on a title associated with a particular field of study. “Lawyer” meant I’d have to do a lot of memorization and tons of detailed reading – that was bearable, but I didn’t like the idea of criminal trials where someone could get off the hook due to a technicality. I ditched that idea pretty quick. I loved the idea of getting a degree in psychology and becoming a a counselor, but I wasn’t sure where that would really take me, or if I had the patience to sit and listen to people day in and day out as they sorted through difficult pasts filled with emotion. I loved music, but I wasn’t a symphony quality musician by any means. I rather preferred singing to playing the flute, and I had gone the band route – not choir. I had lots of melodies in my head, but never the right words (until later). After sifting through various professions and realizing my best option was down the artistically inclined route, I looked into architecture. I knew making a living as a fine artist was tough, and although I have a natural classical talent, modernism was in; my hyper realistic drawings wouldn’t be desirable among a fan base that appreciated splotches of paint. And so I went with architecture – a confirmation of what I always knew.
College taught me quickly that architecture had to do with much more than just designing house plans. There were drawings like elevations, sections and details. There were construction methods to consider. There was history and theory and precedent. There was practicality of budget and client – not just what I wanted in my head. Long story short, my education broadened my understanding and taught me to analyze. I was able to understand design and architecture, and I was able to channel my creativity into projects that solved problems. After graduating, I joined the workforce and got caught up in the rush. Life’s never ending to do list piled up on me and while I never stopped reaching towards the goal, I never stopped to realize how far I’d come.
Through my journey I’ve been able to dabble in many of the areas I once considered for a career. I draw and sketch regularly, and create fine art. I research properties and codes and find the technicalities that will best benefit my projects. I interact with clients in a way that allows me to analyze their thoughts, habits and lifestyles and translate them into a design. Music inspires the forms I create and I’ve even penned (lyrics and all) many songs. In a way, I’ve been able to play the part of lawyer, psychologist, musician and artist – just by choosing architecture as a career. Even before I graduated, I had worked at a firm that specialized in designing high end residential projects – complicated roof lines and all.
Sometimes I joke with my parents that they underestimated me – that I did eventually find the clients willing to pay for elaborate and expensive designs. We laugh about it now, but it’s a great reminder: never stop reaching for the goal and never underestimate yourself.
Written by: Brinn Miracle