From my thoughts on being an architect, career, health, finances, and personal growth, this area of the blog focuses on everything related to my life as an architect and product designer.
As young architects, a majority of us graduate from architecture school and enter the workforce with substantial amounts of debt. A majority of us are faced with earning at or less than the average salary as starting architects. In hopes of changing the perception of the younger generation as being entitled and selfish, here's how debt cripples a majority of new architecture graduates entering the workforce in the 21st century.
In early 2016, I started Journey of an Architect and jumped right into designing 30 theoretical projects to refine my design process, find my style of architecture, and eventually start a practice of my own. A little more than two years after starting this blog, I’ve completed 27 projects and diverged into product design and writing. Slowly, but surely, this blog is turning into more than I ever envisioned it would be and it’s time for me to redesign and refocus Journey of an Architect.
After a great 8 years of using a desktop computer that I pieced together, the time finally came when the computer just couldn’t handle the architecture and design projects anymore. It was tired. Worn out. Checked out. So, as fate would have it, I had to go out and search for my next computer to conquer the world of architecture and product design. Then came the age old question. What computer should I get to run my architecture programs and Netflix simultaneously, side by side?
Every year, I take a week in the summer time to relax with my friends by renting a house, home cooking meals, and spending time together. This year, our theme was “Lake House”, and last week we finally went on this much anticipated vacation. During my time there, I thought about where I started, how far I’ve come, and where I’d like to go with my career as an architect and creative professional. In short, I felt like I was reaching an “early life crisis”. Let me explain.
Recently, I realized that one of my biggest pitfalls in life has been the lack of patience in pursuing some of my ideas and understanding that the best outcomes usually take the most time. This idea spans from my passion and career in architecture to my newfound hobby in leatherworking. Every time I start a project, I immediately get to work and I come up with an action plan, a timeline, a deadline, and possible ideas to get started. Once I enter the design process, I enter the battle zone where my lack of patience is driven by the deadlines and results that I’m pursuing. This is why I’ve decided to practice patience in everything that I’m working on.
About two and a half years ago, I started on my 5 year journey to design 30 projects by the time I turned 30. Over that amount of time, I’m excited that in retrospect, I can see the lineage of all of my completed projects as well as the growth of my life as a designer. From being an architect who focused solely on designing the built environment to now pivoting and exploring the world of product design, I can’t wait to see what else I’ll learn about myself and the world of design. Now that I’m half way through my timeline, I’d like to reflect on the projects that I’ve done so far and take you down memory lane.
As I continue in my career as an architect and product designer, I often find myself designing and creating things without second thought. This is likely due to the way that I’ve trained myself to push through moments of doubt and uncertainty with my projects. You know, those days when we keep trying to imagine a design in our minds or through hard lining in a BIM or CAD software and we seemingly get nowhere? To avoid this vicious cycle, I often revert to hand sketching and/or physically making something without doubting myself and criticizing my ideas. Check out some of the products that I designed and handmade this week for Mars Leather Company.
If you’ve been following me over the past 5 weeks, you’ve probably been wondering, “Why is this architect’s blog focusing so much on handmade leather goods?” I know it might be confusing for many of my followers and I’m excited to finally share one of the biggest projects of my life with you in this post; starting my first online retail company whose focus is handmade leather goods. Without further ado, let me take you through my journey of taking my hobby, officially starting a business in New York State, and starting my online shop.
After several months of dabbling in leather working and focusing the entire month of April 2018 on hand making 100 leather wallets, it’s about time for me to share my story of how an architect was inspired by the craft of leather working. Here's my story of how I found my passion for leather working.
At the beginning of April, I set out on a goal to pursue my latest hobby that is now becoming an official online retail store. My goal was simple; design and hand make 100 leather wallets by the end of April 2018. The moment this goal was set, I started cutting my leather sides into the various pieces that would come together to make each leather wallet. I’m excited to say that I’ve been able to finish all 100 leather wallets before the end of the month. Here’s how they look and what I learned along the way!
Having one goal for the month of April has been a fantastic way for me to stay focused and to continue learning the craft of leather making. Over the past week, I finished stitching all 100 wallets and reached a fork in the road which was whether I would finish the edges by burnishing it or leave it natural and raw. Here’s what I decided and how far these leather wallets have come.
As some of my projects come to an end, others are just beginning including project 20x30 which is designing and making 100 leather wallets. I know this isn’t an architecture project, but my journey so far has helped me realize my passion for design and leather making. After designing and constructing several leather bags late last year, I decided to take my leather making hobby to a new level. To pursue this newfound passion, I’ve set out to design and make 100 leather wallets by the end of April 2018. Here’s where I am after two weeks of hard work!
After months of planning, discussing, and diving head first into the world of podcasting, my good friend, Mike LaValley from Evolving Architect, and I just released the first 3 episodes of our new podcast, Unpacking Design. We came up with the idea to start a podcast together during one of our mastermind sessions and as we talked about what it could be, we narrowed it down to a general idea and turned on the microphones. Here’s what you can expect and where you can find the Unpacking Design Podcast.
As one of my 30x30 goals, I’ve decided to take action on writing the Starting an Architecture Firm eBook that will elaborate and add to the list of advice from the seminar and my blog post, Almost 40 Tips for Starting an Architecture Firm. Here’s how the eBook is coming along so far and how you can be the first to know when it’s available!
Ever since I started Journey of an Architect a year and a half ago, I’ve been simultaneously working on both architecture and design projects to reach my goal of completing 30 projects by the time I turn 30 (May 2020). Although I’ve completed 16 projects and I’m now working on 3 others, I can honestly say that I struggle just as much as every other creative person when starting a project. In fact, I spend the most time at the beginning by developing a strong concept because it helps me find clarity for the remainder of the architecture project. Here are 5 tips for starting an architecture project that has helped me on my projects.
One of the things that I’ve always been interested in starting is an online design shop where I could design and sell products. After a meeting with my good friend Mike LaValley over at Evolving Architect, I learned about several online product companies where artists and designers are able to put their designs on real items. I was so excited after this meeting that I decided to create an account and start an online shop for Journey of an Architect as project 18x30. Here’s my review of two online services and my very own online shop!
At some point in everyone’s career, routines will be developed and they’ll influence the decisions we make as well as our mental and physical well-being. We can develop good routines that keep us optimistic and energized every day or we could have bad routines that drain our motivation. To avoid creating routines that instill a pessimistic outlook in my life, I’ve made breaking routines a priority. Here’s why breaking routines is important to renewing your sense of self-worth, optimism, and motivation.
At the end of every year, I take at least a week off to travel, spend time with family and friends, reflect on the year that’s coming to an end, and come up with 10 new goals for the new year. This has become a very important tradition in my life because it keeps me focused on specific aspects of my life that I want to strengthen. Most importantly, I continuously work towards achieving each one and for the last few years, I’ve been able to achieve all 10 of them. Here’s why, how, and what I set as my 10 goals for 2018.
During late Autumn of 2017, I thought about various crafts that I’ve always been intrigued by and wanted to try. One of those crafts was leatherworking particularly for making accessories and bags. However, it was difficult for me to get into the trade because I didn’t have the tools nor the space in my family’s New York City apartment that allowed for leatherworking. Now that I have the space and resources to pursue leatherworking, I’ve decided to make my leather products a part of my 30x30 goal. Here’s what I’ve made so far.
As an architect working at a fantastic mid-sized architecture firm, I haven’t been making scaled models or physical conceptual massing models. I started feeling like I’m losing touch with creativity in the real world. So, I thought about possible new hobbies that would involve making things and decided to try leather working. I’ve always been inspired by people who are able to take a piece of leather, cut it down to size, and hand stitch an entire bag. Here’s the leather tote bag that I learned to make in 4 days and what I learned along the way.
As I continue working hard at the architecture firm, I’ve found myself with new exciting responsibilities that involve answering lots of questions. My preference is to receive questions via email rather than over the phone because I noticed that many people expect immediate answers. As every architect knows, a majority of questions don’t have immediate answers and require some investigation in order to get the correct answer. Whenever I find myself in a situation where someone expects an immediate answer, I admit that I don’t know, but I’ll find out and get back to them. Here are 5 reasons why I admit I don’t know.
If you’re thinking of starting a website or blog, this post was written for you. I’ll go over several main ideas that you need to figure out as well as the steps for building your website; from creating an account with a website hosting platform to selecting a template on WordPress and tips for managing your website. If I were starting this website over again with what I know today, this is the process I would follow.
Although I’ve been a licensed architect for a little over a year, I’m still relatively young in the profession of architecture with a total of 4 years and 3 months of professional experience. In this time, I’ve been able to exponentially grow, take on more responsibility, and climb the corporate ladder at my firm. During this time, I’ve had observations of my peers and personal experiences that I’ve loved and hated. Here are 5 things that I love and hate about being an architect.
After several months of waiting for Frank Gehry’s Masterclass to be fully released, I finally had the opportunity to go through all of the courses and learn from his experiences. Although his class is an overview of the various skills one needs as an architect, I found it to be very informing for both non-architects and architects at any point in their career. Among many others, here are 3 things that I gained from Gehry’s Masterclass.
Ever since I was 12 years old, I’ve been near sighted and needed to wear glasses to help me see into the distance. Being the only child out of 5 siblings that needed to always wear glasses, I’ve had my fair share of good frames that were comfortable and worked with my facial structure as well as bad frames that left dark marks on my nose and would slip off of my face. This year marks the 7th year that I’ve had my frames and it was time for a change. Here’s my story of my search for a low cost, comfortable, and stylish new glasses and prescription sunglasses.
Back in the summer of 2013, I graduated from architecture school with a Masters of Architecture degree at the age of 23. As soon as I walked across the stage and took the blank diploma, my journey into the real world began. Then, I received an email congratulating me for graduating followed by a note that my 6 month grace period has started. It was at this moment that I realized I just set foot into the professional world with a net worth well below zero. Sound familiar to you? Here are 10 important things that I learned about my finances as a young professional.
One of my ongoing personal projects is my house that I’m constantly fixing and renovating. When I purchased my house at the age of 25 in June 2015, I had two months left on my apartment lease to renovate over 50% of the interior before officially moving into my home. In the summer of 2017, more fixer upper and necessary renovation projects were done. Thus, I’ve decided to dedicate one of my 30x30 projects to this never-ending renovation of my own house and studio. Here’s what I’ve learned from these home renovation projects.
Last week, I focused on creating and gathering all of the graphics for project 12x30 Micro Housing China, which was one of my longest theoretical projects to date. When I started the project back in the middle of March, I thought I’d have enough time in my evening schedule to complete it within a month. However, as unexpected as life generally is, my travel schedule filled up and two other projects came up. Here are two important lessons I’ve learned from working on project 12x30, Micro Housing China.
Three years after graduating from architecture school, I became a licensed architect in New York State and I shared my excitement with all of my friends. During dinner with a good friend of mine, I shared the news with him and he joked about designing a building for him in the future. A month later, we met at a bar and he asked me to be his architect for a building that he purchased. Although I was thrilled to work on a project with my good friend, I was faced with the dilemma of moonlighting as an architect and found an alternative solution that worked in favor of both the firm where I’m employed and me. Here’s an alternative to moonlighting as a young architect told through my short story.
Over the 4 years of my career as an architect, I’ve always felt guilty about taking time off at the architecture firm for a vacation. Perhaps it’s due to my millennial mindset that I constantly tell myself that if I work hard now, I’ll have time and money to relax in the future. However, I’m quickly starting to realize the importance of taking time off and exposing my mind to different experiences. Here are 5 reasons why architects should take time off and explore the world.