Architecture is a language of its own and to use one of its fancy words in context, the allure of being the next great Starchitect versus the realities of the industry is a ‘juxtaposition’. In ten years real-world experience in Australia and overseas I worked on everything from garages to multi-million dollar buildings. It enriched my creative life and knowledge is so many ways. There was also an accumulation of massive student debt, a loss of passion and burn out. There are no regrets but I would have appreciated a heads up about what to expect before I dived in. Here are a few insights for any budding designers out there.
When I was a kid I drew meticulously with careful attention to detail. Before I knew it people around me were telling me ‘when you grow up you’ll be an architect’. If we hear something enough we start to believe it. After high-school I’d lost sight of the things I wanted to do, it felt like the walls were closing in fast and I should have it all worked out. I enrolled in a two year drafting diploma to dip my toes in the architectural waters. Having moved out of home it was a rude awakening to be told I needed to devote at least 40 hours a week to the course and couldn’t work a part-time job. After 1000’s of hours at the drawing board I was equipped with the technical skills to enter the industry.
I got a job in a drafting firm and drew 100’s of MacMansions in perfectly curated Happy Garden Spring Valley Villages where fake lakes were marketed as a lifestyle. I heard the designs referred to as ‘sausages, all the same just turned and cooked differently’. I witnessed volume builders entice young struggling families into enormous bank loans with rooms called home theatres when essentially you could call a room anything you like. The houses were built cheap and weathered fast.
I witnessed volume builders entice young struggling families into enormous bank loans with rooms called home theatres when essentially you could call a room anything you like.
Most of my time was spent tangled in a mountain of building regulation and council red tape. Unable to get the jobs out fast enough and on the verge of bankruptcy my boss demanded I go with him to a site to check an existing measurement between a fence and a house. If the distance was…