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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During the beginning of March 2017, I received an email from the host of the Amsterdam Light Festival competition notifying me that I made it to the second round! Out of over 800 entries from more than 50 countries around the world, only 100 participants were selected to move to the final round. This round will result in a selection of 30 winners who will build their light art installation in Amsterdam, NL. Here’s the final submission that my friend, David Heaton, and I developed together.

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

1. Lesson of the week – Making progress is more important than winning

This week, I heard back from the Amsterdam Light Festival competition and my friend and I were not selected to go out and construct our proposal. The day that we received the announcement, I attended a lecture by Alberto Campo Baeza, who is an internationally recognized architect, and learned about his process of designing architecture as well as some information about his past.

In short, I learned that Baeza work steadily on getting new clients and projects for his small practice and always kept his eyes on making his architecture eternal. He spoke about how architects should always enjoy and have fun designing architecture and about getting his first client from his brother.

Most importantly, he humorously spoke about the most crucial and important first step for any project – getting paid a portion upfront as a retainer. Although spoken as a joke, he reiterated the truth behind this thought because he has lost projects and had clients run off with his designs without paying.

So, it’s important to continue striving for more and working on my 30x30 projects with the intent to win competitions, but it’s also important to recognize that it’s the progress that matters. To me, I find fulfillment in refining my design ability, developing a clear design process, and growing my confidence as an architect.

2. Best moment of the week – Receiving my new Embody chair from Herman Miller

After working in an architecture office for 3.5 years, I’ve realized that I’m not as healthy as I used to be. Aside from sitting at my desk for most the day in the office, I’m also sitting at my workstation at home for the remainder of the evening. Because of sitting more often and not stretching or going for a walk like I used to, I started feeling pain in my upper back and at the joint between my neck and upper spine.

I researched ways to maintain a healthy body while working in a profession where we sit for most the day and implemented several changes. I now have an adjustable workstation at the office that turns into a standing desk every hour for at least half an hour. For my home office, I’ve purchased the Embody chair from Herman Miller, which has been fantastic and has improved my focus at my desk.

Although the Embody chair is in the upper cost range at about $1,300 after taxes, I’ve found that the benefits of having a great chair at my workstation is like having a great bed for sleeping. In my opinion, these are non-negotiable necessities that allow us to remain healthy while performing at our greatest.

Never sacrifice your health.

3. What I’m currently listening to – Gary Vee Audio Experience

This week, I listened to multiple episodes of the Gary Vee Audio Experience podcast and focused on the keynotes and discussions that he had with some millennials who called his show. Like them, I used to rush towards whatever goal I was attempting to achieve in my life and career. I never felt like I was moving at the pace that I should or could to achieve that goal and go onto the next. Today, I still find myself working towards achieving my goals quickly and efficiently, but I’ve also realized that having patience and multiple perspectives is the key to achieving more.

4. 30x30 Project Update – Developing facade designs for Micro Housing Project in China  

With the interior floor plans developed and the design concept in place, I finished designing the floor plans for the living units in Revit and copy/pasted them to create a super slim skyscraper. Now, I’m working on designing a façade for the primary side of the building that will face the street. Currently, the design idea is to have vertical metal panels that can slide open and rotate to provide more shading for each unit. This will create a dynamic façade because the inhabitants will be able to control the level of shading throughout the day, which will constantly change.

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