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.

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Are you an Architect who has been contemplating starting your own practice? After co-organizing and hosting a one day seminar called "Planning a Practice" for Architects in Buffalo, NY, I was able to learn the essential information and steps for starting, maintaining, and growing an architecture firm from an expert architect, attorneys, accountants, and branding/strategic marketer. Learn more in this summary article of the conference!

Now, without further ado, here is this week’s Friday Four!

1. Lesson of the week – Never be afraid to speak up

After working hard to get a fast tracked project’s construction documents completed and delivered to our clients last Friday, I had a lighter workload and spent that time working on some in-house projects for one of the partners. There were also firm tours and meetings with a prospective energy consultant for the company scattered into my week. During my quarterly review with my mentor, who is also one of the partners at the firm, he told me that I’m doing extremely well and that in his opinion, I’m doing above average. However, he also warned me that another partner would be joining us in the meeting with constructive criticism.

Once he joined us, I attentively listened to what he had to say and I was being criticized for spending some of my time giving firm tours to students at other universities and for working on in-house projects for the other partner. When he finished, I gathered my thoughts, repeated his points, corrected his assumptions, and simply explained that I was doing what employees have been told to do at the firm. After our discussion, he realized that his assumptions were incorrect and we’re now working together on a project.

Never be afraid to speak up to others who might be misunderstanding a situation relating to you. I know it’s tough for many people to do this, especially to your boss, but having the courage and ability to clarify a situation while showing integrity and respect can lead to great outcomes.

2. Best moment of the week – Bringing my friend’s project into the firm

My friend decided to move forward with his restaurant and apartment building renovations, which forced me to figure out whether or not I would pursue the project with the firm where I’m currently employed. I decided to speak with my mentor, who is a partner at the firm, about the project in hopes of getting his approval to pursue the project on my own. However, after we discussed the project, we negotiated a deal between the company and me and we’re bringing my friend’s project into the firm. This will lead to a great outcome for my friend and for my first official project. In fact, it’ll be the first set of drawings with my architect stamp!

3. What I’m currently reading – Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki

I’ve always heard of the book Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki on all of the podcasts that I subscribe to and I finally decided to purchase the book. In it, Kiyosaki tells many stories about what he learned from his friend’s father, who he calls the rich dad, as well as what he learned from his own dad, who is the poor dad. These stories are extremely helpful in understanding the differences between being an employer and an employee and investing your money so that it continues to build on its own. I highly recommend getting a copy of Kiyosaki’s book. It’s a short read with so much knowledge to be gained.

4. 30x30 Project Update – Bringing 5x30 into my architecture firm and finishing up 3x30 One Seneca Tower residential designs

This has been a week full of architecture work both at my architecture firm and on my own. First, I decided to bring my friend’s restaurant and apartment project into the company and negotiated for several benefits for bringing the project into the office. Second, I joined a new team at the firm for a fast tracked project that needed some help. And lastly, I’m working with my friends on finishing up the schematic designs of One Seneca Tower. It’s a very large building, but the schematic design of the skyscraper portion is near completion.

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