you get what you pay for, or do you?

throughout college as an architecture student, business and economics classes were not a requirement for my degree. however, i decided my very last semester it couldn't hurt to try one out, so i chose the broad topic of "macroeconomics." after a semester of GDPs and endless parabolic graphs supposedly representing supply and demand relationships, i concluded with the broad analysis that econ sucks. primarily this opinion stems from the fact that a large majority of the "greeks" in my econ class would graduate college with a starting salary much higher than any architecture graduate can hope for and they certainly won't have to include the word "intern" in their job title for 4 years (minimum) after they've received their degrees. did they ever suffer through 3 days of no sleep in studio building tiny little parti models or coloring layer upon layer of one square inch on a prismacolor drawing? i think not. so why is it that architecture graduates are so under-appreciated? i've yet to find a happy little intern architect working steadily away at their bathroom details content to be bringing home a salary among the lowest of graduates with professional degrees. so why do we do it? we complain about the recording of every 15 minutes of every day for 4 years to wait 4 months to qualify to take/pass 9 tests to wait 4-6 months to receive our licenses. we complain about the hell we went through for 5 years trying to obtain a degree in the first place and of course we complain about the lack of actual design in so many of the projects we work on. so what is the payoff of being an architect? is it the rewarding experience of seeing a budget cut, value-engineered building completed? is it that when you tell people you're an architect, they kind of look at you like, wow, that's really interesting. (even though you can see them secretly filing that information away in the back of their mind so in the future if they need a new house, you'll be sure to give them a discount). or is it really finding the art in that one project that has an endless budget out of the hundreds that are stretched so tight the architecture is squeezed right out like water from a sponge? yeah, that's it i guess. i momentarily forgot when i received my paycheck that is nearly half of my engineer husband's, but now i remember. it's all about the "art". who needs to pay their bills?


  • At 8:52 AM, Blogger sam_iv said…

    Candi! I absolutely love your blog entry. It almost sounds like something I would write! It's delicious.

    It's so weird all the things you said, and they are so true. I, and probably most people I know are experiencing those same problems. It is very hard to stay motivated about the profession when there are so many things wrong with it. The most important one being that we don't get to do in practice the very thing we went to school to learn, design!

    Fortunatly, though, I think things are going to be a lot better for me soon. I have been interviewed by BNIM in KC (that's the one doing the Nelson-Atkins with Steven Holl). They really like my work and they want to hire me. Right now, its all about timing. They are waiting for some big projects to come in. The part that sucks is I have to keep working at my crappy current job for probably another month or so.

    Keep up the blog! And visit mine!

  • At 9:16 AM, Blogger Candi said…

    hey sam! great to hear from you. i checked out your blog and the portfolio. looks good!! my sister in law just bought a house in kansas city, in liberty. she's the athletic trainer at the high school there. sounds like a real nice place. sorry to be so cynical in the blog writeup, but the real world is a 180 from school. i have to say though, i work at a good firm that seems to try pretty hard to design responsibly with tight budgets. good luck with your prospects, keep me posted!!

  • At 12:37 PM, Blogger Murrye said…

    right on, candi. even though i, too, work for a good firm who manages to put out some good projects despite budget constraints, i'm incredibly frustrated and unsatisfied. and i'm not sure it's going to get any better, even after completing my internship. maybe i'll get a minimal pay raise, maybe i'll get to start delegating those bathroom details to the interns, but still, i see guys in my firm who have been doing cds for 20+ years. i can't do that.
    i'm cynical too. i love architecture, but i question whether i'll ever really be happy in traditional practice. maybe it's just internship, "paying our dues" or whatever. here's to hoping that's a light at the end of the tunnel and not a train.

  • At 9:13 AM, Blogger trinity said…

    I hate to be this person, but you guys should ALL THREE submit an essay to attend the 2005 Internship Conference in San Antonio September 22-25.

    The essay is 500 words and is due on July 1. 25 interns will be selected and fully funded to attend the conference. I WANT TO SEE YOU ALL THERE! it'll be super fun =)


Post a Comment

<< Home