Architecture, as comparable to other highly technical or expertise driven professions, requires real world experiences to really master. This is not to confuse anyone into thinking it can be totally mastered. We tend to believe that the prime age of an experienced architect is generally in midlife. This is not to say once you reach this age range, a switch magically turns on. Conversely, there are still many great architects under this age also. It's just an average.
Years of practice create wisdom and the discernment necessary to (hopefully) create well thought out efficient spaces for the usage and enjoyment by clients and the public. And being well integrated into the surrounding neighborhood fabric. In my youth it was amazing to witness seasoned architects pulling from their personal project history as a knowledge base. Equally from their successes as their failures. Now, I am personally challenged to learn from those senior to me, while passing my knowledge and experiences on to new and inquiring architects-in-training.
Personally I know I was confronted with three fears when I first attained my license:
I am liable. Well.. not really but this ran through my brain at initial license. Now that I had a public registration and license, I was some how "more responsible" for everything I did... again, not really. However I did find myself reviewing things a tad longer. Architects in general are tasked with protecting the life, welfare and safety of the public through our services in various avenues in the built environment. Despite how I felt, my every pen stroke was not going to be meticulously & exhaustively scrutinized. Which bring my second point..
The aforementioned is not crucial if you aren't stamping (also known as signing & sealing) documents. When you stamp a set of architectural documents you become the design professional (Architect of Record = AOR) and are liable for what is contained within. This high level task is left to the senior, associate and owners for a reason. Representing yourself as AOR holds a lot of weight and shouldn't be taken lightly. You don't start off as an AOR of a skyscrapers but build up experience and expertise in your niche. SO.. you shouldn't think you'll be letting the ink fly anytime soon if unprepared for the ramifications that come along with it. This includes having the competency to complete the project and proper insurance among other things.
And lastly.. Knowledge. The profession of architecture revolves around bringing specialized people together in a somewhat artistic endevour to compete a specific project that yields (hopefully) a built tangible creation. We do not know it all. Nor should we have to. A professor of mine once told me "You don't need to know it all, just where or how to find it." This holds some truth.
It could be that interesting article, the lecture discussing a neighborhood large scale project, or even a local innovative architect that leaves you captivated yet interested to research further. In that first year, learn and absorb all you can. Progress doesn't occur without action.
I'd love to hear your thoughts and concerns after attaining your initial license. Any apprehension? Please comment below.
Jared W. Smith
My life as an architect, photographer and family man trying to stay positive in a negative world.
BLOGS I FOLLOW:
1. Life of an Architect
3. Young Architect
5. Little Miss Architect
7. Coffee with an Architect
8. Architecture Career Guide
9. Equity by Design
10. Defragging Architecture
11. Emily Grandstaff-Rice
12. L2 Design
Click the image below to see the archive from my old blog.