Whenever I go to a party and someone asks, “what do you do?” and I say that I am an architect the response is typically, “that is really cool” or “I had once considered being an architect myself.” However, the profession of architecture is widely not understood by the general public.

This should not be surprising since roughly only 2% of the general public has ever worked with an architect. To speak for my generation, you say architect and someone might first think of Mike Brady from the Brady Bunch, or the black turtle neck wearing, heavy German accented architect from the Kohler faucet commercial. He is a real good spokesman for the profession; maybe not.

If you are following this blog, you are probably part of the 2% of the general public that has worked with an architect. In reference to the comment above, being an architect IS a pretty cool job. In what other job can you start with an empty piece of land or building shell and create something as lasting as a building? It is even more fulfilling when your design of a classroom makes it easier to teach a child with special needs, or a new design feature of a building provides comfort for someone dealing with the life changing effects of cancer.

I recently saw a video by Simon Sinek where he used the terms of why, what, and how you do things. He stated that everyone talks about what they do or how they do it, but rarely do people talk about why they do what they do. So I asked myself, why am I an architect? Is it about the design or leaving my mark on society? No, I decided.  My why is because my work makes an impact on peoples’ lives – How they work, How they learn, and How they live. For me, architecture is about the people that experience it.

Mike Elliot headshot2By Mike Elliott, Architect (AIA, REFP, LEED AP)