Amanda the Architect

documenting the projects and inspirations of an unemployed intern architect with some ambition and lots of time

Change and Architecture

As I begin the move back to the States (down to five days!), it brings up the fact that things are constantly changing. I generally like change (or maybe just moving), as it keeps me from hoarding stuff, creates a fresh perspective, and I get to rearrange furniture!

So, everything is changing, right? What about the perspective of architecture? Most things in the world change at a much faster rate than buildings. Buildings stay pretty much the same for years. Now, don’t get me wrong, many things change in buildings – fixtures, windows, flooring, furniture, inhabitants, etc. At this very moment, plumbers are sawing through the drywall in our hallway to change out the plumbing for the whole building. That is most definitely change. I’m talking about the core structure: the foundation and bones of the building. Those things are going nowhere until some serious damage is made, either consciously or by accident.

Let’s bring in a metaphor. A tree is constantly changing, photosynthesizing, growing, dying. Once the seed sprouts, the young tree will be in the same place, changing the environment around itself. The tree trunk is going nowhere. It will be in the exact same place for hundreds of years. Even after it dies, the trunk will stay in place for many years before it finally disintegrates.

For those of you who actually have a job designing something that will actually be built, here are my thoughts. The tree trunk, that foundation you are designing, is permanent in the perspective of our generation. You’re making something significant happen that will change your surroundings for a very long time. Keep that in mind as you edit construction documents. Hopefully someday when I am in a position of designing actual buildings, I will remember this post. After all, that’s why I am drawn to a career in architecture. Architects build environments and we can literally change the world around us. So, let’s change our surroundings to be something proud of. Don’t just create significant change, but change that is significant.

I hope this post doesn’t come off as ignorant or utopian, but I felt compelled to say something to my future self, as a reminder of why I worked so hard. Today I formed an opinion about design, and showed you a little insight into my philosophy on architecture. Again, it is always changing. Join the conversation.

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