This post is part of an ongoing (although intermittent) series of fictional chats between an architect and an intern in the architect’s Northern California studio.
A. Good morning. What’s up? You look like something’s on your mind…
I. You know, I get a lot out of our on-going chats, but I wonder – what do you think would be good for me, for us to talk about…and what about humor? Architects don’t seem like the most light-hearted members of humanity.
A. There is a lot of weight on the poor ol’ architect – and the bureaucracy today can be absolutely mind numbing. Humor is a valuable and helpful asset for dealing with most aspects of life. Dana Carvey is pretty funny – I don’t think he’s much of an architect though. As for what I think would be good to discuss, how about your morphosis into an architect. Speaking of which, do you know what a real architect is?
I. Somehow, I have the sense you’re not really seeking my insight into what a real architect is. Perhaps not, but please enlighten me.
A. A real architect is like a real man. A good architect does good buildings, an exceptional architect does exceptional buildings. Pretty complicated isn’t it? A real man accepts responsibility and even champions it, and personal integrity is an important component of this. Too many of us are living our lives through the thoughts of others.
Real men and women push themselves to discover the values and beliefs within themselves and possess the fortitude to shun the ever-present mindless drivel of the day. He may not be a major figure, she may not be one of the elites of the profession, but almost certainly they will possess a discernable amount of integrity and personal responsibility. These are rare qualities that distinguish the cream of the crop. What did Ayn Rand say? Something like buildings can possess integrity... just like men…and like men just about as often.
I. How about getting back to morphosis. It sounds organic and portends of evolution in the air.
A. You seem to be starting to talk the talk. Let’s see… the development from intern to architect – well, the best architects I’ve actually seen develop have almost all had a substantial talent right from the beginning, and they drew well, wrote well, and were noticeably dedicated to their work. In many ways architecture was their life. They thrived on being good. I think they were responsible, didn’t make excuses, and exemplified some form of integrity, although each in their own way.
Your development will be the absorption of many different inputs and experiences. How you process and use them to your advantage will be key.
I. You’re telling me you’ve either got it or you don’t… Can’t you just recommend an occult book of some sort? Ouspensky?
A. I’m telling you that is what I have seen. I’d like to be more optimistic and more inclusive than that – it sure sounds like a pretty narrow path, doesn’t it? On the other hand I’d say a thirst for growth and enhancement can and does come to those who are immersed in their pursuit – pursuit of insight and not just quick allegiance to the group-think of the month.
I. You’re getting up there in years and I wonder if you’re metamorphizing into a philosopher. Should I be worried about you? Just kidding, Boss. What you say is always interesting, but it never fully registers with me.
A. If I had stayed in the city I might have never have come to sense the world at large. Being in touch with nature has made a great difference in my life. It has allowed me a glimpse of complexities difficult to put into words and difficult to make simple sense out of. My eyes may be getting weak, but I now see the big picture more clearly than ever. As for architecture don’t worry about magazines or awards or governing agencies. The answers for you are within you, and you can find them. Look deeper. Look harder. Morphosis will come if you pursue it. Don’t give up.