Journey of an Architect is a blog started by Tim Ung to document his journey to design 30 projects by the age of 30 (May 2020). His posts focus on his design process, thoughts, struggles, and successes throughout his journey.

5 Things I’m Thankful for in 2017

5 Things I’m Thankful for in 2017

During Thanksgiving week, I always take some time to reflect on my life over the past year. Now that I’ve been documenting the things that I’m thankful for in my life, I’m starting to find that I consistently focus on specific areas of my life. Interestingly, most of them don’t relate specifically to architecture. Here are 5 things that I’m thankful for in 2017.

1. Health

After graduating from architecture school, entering the professional world of architecture, and simultaneously taking on many opportunities, I reached a point where my health was in fast decline. This led to a visit to the emergency room back in early 2014 and ever since that time, I’ve been focusing on my health and putting myself ahead of everything else.

This year, I set a goal to run a half marathon under 2 hours, which was a very difficult task because I was just getting back into running after several injuries. With a gym schedule and plan in place, my running form gradually improved and my running time/distance increased. In the middle of October, I ran the half marathon distance in 1 hour and 56 minutes!

Needless to say, I’m thankful for having the time, focus, and resources to constantly train and reach my running goal for the year. If I never decided to make time in my day to go out for at least a half hour run, the focus to continue running after 10 miles, and the resources to train at the local gym and purchase new running gear I wouldn’t have achieved this goal.

2. Friends and Family

Being surrounded by great people who I’m happy to call my good friends and family has been a critical part of my success in both my life and career. I especially enjoy spending time with all the people that I love and sharing our successes and failures over the past year as well as our vision for our future.

This year, I’ve had lots of moments of optimistic thoughts about my future as well as some instances of confusion or feeling lost about what I wanted to do next in my life. Having my friends and family around to openly talk about my ambitions has been a blessing. I’m thankful for their support and for their willingness to give me their time when I need it most!

3. Career and Opportunities

One of my main focuses in my life is continual growth in my career as an architect. In order to accomplish this, I know that I have to take on more responsibilities and try things that make me uncomfortable. For the past few years, I’ve been working a lot on the design side of a majority of projects at the office.

This year, I’ve moved into the construction side of architecture where I’m working directly with clients and contractors. The experience thus far has been phenomenal and I’m constantly learning new things about developing a better construction document set, working with the entire design team on issues that arise, and dealing with the roller coaster ride of stress.

I’m thankful for having these opportunities at the office and to be able to work with so many knowledgeable people who are always willing to help and give their advice. Without these opportunities and the support at the office, there are lots of situations where I would’ve struggled to come up with the best solution to issues out in the field.

4. Being able to take risks

As a young architect who’s eager to grow in the profession, I’m always looking to take on more responsibility and challenges that will teach me the essential skills for being an architect. I’m always thinking about what other skills I need to acquire to be able to work independently at the office and on my own in the future.

This year, I’m thankful for all of the responsibility that I’ve been able and willing to take on at the office and in my personal life. I’ve worked on multiple projects at all levels from conceptual design to buildout and post-occupancy. Outside of the office, I’ve continued working on this blog and working with a good friend on a collaborative project.

All of the financial risks that come with these additional responsibilities was very intimidating and there were moments when I doubted my ability to complete my tasks at a high level. However, I continue pressing forward and embracing any failures that come my way. By doing so, I’ve been able to learn an exponential amount in a short amount of time.

5. Following my passion for design

Most architects have a passion for multiple areas of the design world from architecture to graphic design, industrial design, fashion, and so on. As one of these architects, I find myself constantly exploring other fields of design and giving each of them a try. This year, I decided to try leather working for the first time in my life and I’ve been able to make several products within a month!

This new leatherworking pursuit has fueled my passion for product design and it has become my new creative outlet outside of architecture. In fact, I’m going to continue leatherworking and I have so many ideas for products that I’d like to create. I’m thankful for having the time, energy, and will to have tried leather working this year!

Timber Residential Skyscraper Site

Timber Residential Skyscraper Site

Finalizing the Residential Timber Skyscraper Interior Design

Finalizing the Residential Timber Skyscraper Interior Design