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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Filed under: Inspirations, , , , , ,

Picking Up the Pace

Phew! It seems that when I start getting busy with one thing that demands my time, everything else in my life gets busy as well. Currently I am juggling a very active social life, working on a new website for a friend, packing for the move in a few weeks, the Socio Competition, the Journal Challenge, and the sun keeps tempting me to get to the beach. Not to worry, though, as I thrive in a busy environment. My productivity soars when I’m super busy, as I have the momentum to keep going without down-time. My system is to store months of down-time so when a busy month comes along, I am all rested and ready to go. Read the rest of this entry »

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Pecha Kucha Night Vancouver #12

Last night was wonderful. I finally found out where all of the cool kids hang out here in Vancouver. It was not only a fun-filled evening, but packed with knowledgeable presenters and inspirational stories.

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Filed under: Inspirations, Lists, , , , ,

Design Times

Here are a few things happening on and off-line worth noting:

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Filed under: About, Lists, , , , , , , , , , ,

Tuesday Readings

Today I have been immersed in reading some intense conversations online about unpaid internships. I first heard about it on Architizer and was quickly whisked into the wonderful online world of opinionated blog posts and anonymous comments. I have seen some posts in the past on the subject of unpaid internships, but the debate gained new momentum when the NYT posted an article on it. The debate really heats up here, on Design Intelligence blog, where the subject is Architecture: A Corrupt Profession? Posts and discussions like this really make me wonder if it’s all worth it, as I constantly reconsider my interest in the architecture profession.

Architects Who Eat Their Young, a blog exposing firms who offer unpaid internships. I found the Robert Siegal post particularly interesting. Although it is illegal, I would consider an unemployed part-time internship to gain some skills and build my resume. Seriously, how am I supposed to learn Revit, AutoCAD, ArchiCAD, Rhino, etc. without access to these expensive computer programs??????? Seriously?!? I am searching high and low for an entry-level position at an architecture firm, and every one requires CAD and 3D modeling skills, which I don’t have. It’s a vicious cycle that I wish I had the answer to.

Architects Doing Other Things is my favorite find of the day. Click on Nancy Gordon and/or Allyson Wray and you will find my personal favorite inspirations. (I’m seriously considering a volunteer trip to Peru now.) It’s wonderful to see other amazing, talented women doing stuff they love and owning up to becoming responsible for their own success. Instead of climbing the corporate ladder in a firm the typical way, these women take a more organic approach. I love how they all don’t really know where they will be in the next few years, but are just doing what they love and seeing what works.

Filed under: Inspirations, Jobs, , , , , , ,

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