Work/Life… What an Architect Does

By on September 8, 2015. Posted in , , .

This week’s post is part of our ArchiTalks series in which Bob Borson of Life of an Architect (fame! – Huge congratulations to Bob for receiving the 2015 Texas Society of Architects Award for the Promotion of Architecture through Media! This is a huge honor and is more than well-deserved!!) selects a theme and a group of us (architects) post our perspectives at the same time. Great fun, and clearly award-winning promotion of our profession! 

To be honest I didn’t really know where to begin with this post… I’ve written previously in The Architect’s Notebook about what’s important to me most in life or about how much I love what I do, and I knew I did NOT want to start writing about work/life balance… So I did what I always do when I don’t know the answer… I started typing it into google.

Of course work/life balance quotes was first to come up, so I clicked… and the one that jumped out to me was,
“You can’t do a good job if your job is all you do.”

Work/Life ..What An Architect Does

It is true – much of my life is work. The opposite is also true – much of my work is life. One of the first things I want to learn from my clients is how they live. After all, LIFE is what makes a house a home.

I recently read a very inspiring post by a friend of mine which I thought was right on point:

The Most Important Thing… – by Brad Lande

“…it’s easy to develop a laser focus on the product you’re working to build. The product, after all, is the concrete result of your labor: What you set out to create, what your efforts are judged on—the carefully cultivated tree that will eventually, hopefully, bear fruit.

However, it is my firm belief that, to achieve both success and fulfillment, every entrepreneur must learn to extricate him or herself from the product. Why? Because focusing too much on what you’re building can be a distraction, and divert your attention from what really matters: the people you’re building it for…”

A Focus on Life

Even before I can ask my clients to describe how they live, I have to be a part of the conversation and listen. I need to be able to relate to their lives so that I can understand how to design their home. If all I did all day every day was work, I wouldn’t bring as much to the table and probably wouldn’t be as interesting. (and therefore probably wouldn’t get the job in the first place!)

Work hard. Sure, I believe everyone should. But Play hard too! …One day you’ll get to tell your architect about it.

What an Architect Does: Work Life Fun


What an Architect Does: Even more fun!

How perfect that Bob et al chose this topic as our theme for this Labor Day-inspired ArchiTalks post…

I hope you were out yesterday celebrating how hard you’ve been working!
Happy Labor Day! Cheers!


We architects are quite an interesting bunch! Read below to find out some of my colleagues’ perspectives on Work/ Life:


Bob Borson – Life of An Architect (@bobborson)
Work | Life – Different Letters, Same Word

Matthew Stanfield – FiELD9: architecture (@FiELD9arch)
Work / Life : Life / Work

Jeff Echols – Architect Of The Internet (@Jeff_Echols)
The One Secret to Work – Life Balance

Lee Calisti, AIA – Think Architect (@LeeCalisti)
work | life :: dance

Mark R. LePage – Entrepreneur Architect (@EntreArchitect)
Living an Integrated Life as a Small Firm Architect

Lora Teagarden – L² Design, LLC (@L2DesignLLC)
#ArchiTalks: Work/life…attempts

Collier Ward – Thousand Story Studio (@collier1960)

Jeremiah Russell, AIA – ROGUE Architecture (@rogue_architect)
what makes you giggle? #architalks

Jes Stafford – Modus Operandi Design (@modarchitect)
Tuning It Off

Eric T. Faulkner – Rock Talk (@wishingrockhome)
Work/Life — A Merger

Michele Grace Hottel – Michele Grace Hottel, Architect (@mghottel)
Work Life

Meghana Joshi – IRA Consultants, LLC (@MeghanaIRA)
Architalks: Imbalanced and uninterrupted

Amy Kalar – ArchiMom (@AmyKalar)
ArchiTalks #12: Balance is a Verb.

Michael Riscica – Young Architect (@YoungArchitxPDX)
I Just Can’t Do This Anymore

Stephen Ramos – BUILDINGS ARE COOL (@sramos_BAC)
An Architect’s House

brady ernst – Soapbox Architect (@bradyernstAIA)
Brady Ernst – Family Man Since 08/01/2015

Brian Paletz – The Emerging Architect (@bpaletz)
Father, Husband, Architect – typically in that order

Eric Wittman – intern[life] (@rico_w)
midnight in the garden of [life] and [work]

Sharon George – Architecture By George (@sharonraigeorge)
Work = 1/3 Life

Daniel Beck – The Architect’s Checklist (@archchecklist)
Work Life Balance: Architecture and Babies – 5 Hints for Expecting Parents

Jarod Hall – di’velept (@divelept)
Work is Life

Anthony Richardson – That Architecture Student (@thatarchstudent)
studio / life

Lindsey Rhoden – SPARC Design (@sparcdesignpc)
Work Life Balance: A Photo Essay

Tara Imani – Tara Imani Designs, LLC (@Parthenon1)
On Work: Life Balance – Cattywampus is as Good as it Gets

Enoch Sears – Business of Architecture (@businessofarch)

Drew Paul Bell – Drew Paul Bell (@DrewPaulBell)
Work / Life

Rosa Sheng – Equity by Design / The Missing 32% Project (@miss32percent)
Work Life Fit: A New Focus for Blurred Lines

Jonathan Brown – Proto-Architecture (@mondo_tiki_man)
Architecture: Work to Live




  1. Every since I was a wee one I’ve loved learning about other folks and what and why and how they do what they do, Marica. This post/series continues right up that road, as I still have that innate curiosity about stuff I don’t know.

    Thanks, as always, for good insights and images.


    ~ Jessan

  2. I feel like there could be a deeper discussion about “relating to their lives” in how it attracts certain clients. Similar to the adage: You dress for the job you want, not the job you have. If you participate in certain activities, you surround yourself with a certain potential client…let alone the ability to relate to them through experience.

  3. Work hard. Sure, I believe everyone should. But Play hard too!
    -Sums it all for me! If we are not working hard, we won’t enjoy the play.. if we don’t play hard, hmm.. where is the motivation to work hard? Cheers!

  4. It certainly is harder to relate to people with whom you do not have shared interests. Great assessment of the importance of having interests outside of architecture in order to relate to clients better.

  5. Beautiful!
    “Because focusing too much on what you’re building can be a distraction, and divert your attention from what really matters: the people you’re building it for…”

    Several years ago I turned down a job offer because all the projects were industrial shells that housed nothing but machines. Without the human interaction of the architecture, I wasn’t sure I could connect.
    Great post! Thanks for sharing.

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