It may be genetic, it may be my Mormon pioneering ancestry, it may be the work ethic observed in mentors Bill Clark and Jon Jerde…(?), but hard work seems perfectly normal.
I know that I have multi-points of view on just about any problem and that reconciling the various spins involved requires a lot of thought to satisfy my personal standard of excellence. Work that looks great but lacks functional depth or work that functions great but lacks aesthetic depth barely peak my interest. I like Buckminster Fuller’s quote: “When I am working on a problem, I never think about beauty, but when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong.” Having high standards pretty much requires hard work in order to reach them.
I remember a hot summer day around 1965 in Reseda when I was under my ’56 Chevy on hot asphalt trying to beat off a muffler that had become bonded to the exhaust system, my arms were aching, rust particles were falling into my eyes, and I was practically in tears. Well, my mother came out, got down under the car, and pounded that muffler until, an hour later, it finally came loose. With that as a family legacy, I tend not to give up too easily.
Then there is my competitive streak – once I gave up high school football this competitive drive became focused on whatever else occupied my life – namely architecture. Architecture was easy in high school, difficult in my college year class, and tremendously challenging in the overall scope of the schools of architecture I attended. Nonetheless, I stubbornly pressed on and eventually architecture became a way of life. Today I pretty much do what I want, but the caveat is that (with the exception of bass fishing) everything I want to do seems to have something to do with architecture.
I don’t feel exhilaration when working on (or even completing) a particular piece of work, but I do feel somewhat derelict when I am not accomplishing something – work is what I’m supposed to be doing so until I see the beam of a different light I’ll be right here just working away…