I think my current favorite architecture website cliche is the image of an architect “working”: pencil in handle, sketches everywhere. (for a good laugh, click on this Google Image Search of “Architect Working”). We do love promoting this idyllic and limited view of what we do. I really wish we could move beyond that.
I lament that my drawing ability has atrophied. Perhaps this will change in the future, but I can say my skills peaked when I was eighteen and a senior in high school. I am out of practice and know my younger self could destroy me in a competition (same goes for my twenty-one year old self and bass playing, but that’s a different story). Fortunately I can still beat both of them not in technical skill but in creativity and functional skill. I know how to think better in both those mediums now. I can explore better now.
I lament that my drawing ability has atrophied not because I think it makes me less of an architect but because I have only so much time to focus on hobbies. And I’ve chosen other hobbies that are more important to me. Drawing is a hobby, not a fundamental architectural skill. Yet we do everything we can to put our favorite hobby at the center of our profession’s image and value.
Professions and tools evolve over time. Do you? For another example of an icon of a bygone era becoming a hobby, read this post about bows, arrows, and machine guns. Subscribe to my blog to read more about the tricky world of being an Architect in the 21st century: Shoegnome on Facebook, Twitter, and the RSS feed.