Architecture is a profession associated with creativity and innovation. Clients expect fancy new designs on their buildings. Most architects just add a few bells and whistles and call it a day. But real architecture means designing the soul of the structure. Every building is different. It has different uses, different challenges. An architect has to think out of the box and really be a non-conformist in order to make it big.
An interesting article in Life of an Architect asks , “Do all Architects lead Glamorous Lives?”
So, it made me wonder, ‘Do all architects lead glamorous lives?’. You certainly would think so if you believed Hollywood. Seems like every other movie or tv show has an architect as the lead character. They always seem to be honest, hardworking, introspective, and extremely financially successful. Oh, and sexy. They always wear black and have stylish glasses.
Hollywood hypes up a lot of things. Its show business. Architects are thought of as rich nerds of some kind. Its not real. I really wish it was all true. But the real wealth lies with the risk takers, the developers. Building Contractors also make a lot of money. In contrast, Architects don’t make that much.
As an architect, I often have to compromise on my designs. Recently, a shopping mall I was working on got converted into a hospital. The developer could not sell or rent the shops in this recession. But he found a hospital willing to relocate to this larger, newer building premises. The entire work on elevation went into the drain.
Many of my clients are very conservative. They look down upon anything non-conventional. One of my biggest clients is a die-hard Vastu Shastra adherent. This really messes up all the designs. I try my best to accommodate their traditional conservative ideals into my designs.
So, its not all cutting-edge designs and innovation for me. I have to please my clients. There are other restrictions imposed by city building codes. It really does a lot in hampering innovation in building design. It causes a heartburn.
Here is a poem by Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken, which I really love.
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
and sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
and looked down one as far as I could
to where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
and having perhaps the better claim
because it was grassy and wanted wear;
though as for that, the passing there
had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
in leaves no feet had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less travelled by,
and that has made all the difference
- Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken