5 Simple Traits of an Architect - Architecture Career Guide
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Architect Characteristic

5 Simple Traits of an Architect

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA I got called out by somebody the other day. We were doing a tour of a school facility and were walking around the campus. As we were walking I was trailing back and taking it all in. I was looking up, down and all around. I focused in on cool details and I was touching all of the walls. Another person on the tour I knew and had met a few times, but we never really talked about what I did for a living. Surprisingly, he noticed how I was experiencing the building and asked me, “you’re an architect aren’t you?” This comment surprised because I don’t remember ever talking about my career, but he could instantly tell by the way I was acting that I must have been an architect! Nobody else would do the things I was doing. That got me thinking about what other things I, or other architects do as second nature that not everybody else does. So here is a list of 5 things only an architect would do:

1. Touching Everything

I am a big student of materials. I love to not only see what things look like, but also what they feel like. What is the texture like? How solid is it? I sometimes hit or knock on things to see what is behind them and how it was built.

2. Straightening Things

I don’t know if every architect does this, but I know there are a lot out there that are just like me. I like things to line up and I feel better when things are straight. This comes into play mostly with picture frames, piles of paper on my desk or even furniture. If it is crooked, I try to make it straight.

3. Looking Up

Most people just walk into a room and look around to see who is there, where they are going or what is on the walls, but most architects will instinctively look up to see the ceiling. I look to see how the height of the ceiling affects the space, how the color affects my emotions or how the material effects the sound.

4. Looking Down

Just like looking up, most architects will study what it is that we are walking on. Is the surface rough or soft? Does if feel comfortable under foot? Does it feel sturdy? How does the material effect how I feel about walking on it?

5. Collect more books than they can read

Maybe it is just me, but I can’t walk into a book store or library without visiting the architecture section. No matter what I am there to get, I want to make sure I’m not missing something exciting in the architecture section. That is the reason our architecture libraries grow so big. Mine started with these 9 architecture books for beginners, but now I can’t even count how many I have.

While these quirks, traits, or characteristics are not true of every architect, it is something I can say is true for a lot of architects I know. What about you? Do you have any of these traits? Are there things you find yourself doing that the average person doesn’t do? Let me know in the comments below.