To the beginner in architectural practice…

I imagine that your desire is to make your presence felt in the world of design; your creative contribution and your unique insight finding a true expression.

I know that you want to make a difference to this world, a positive impact on people and the environment.

I also believe, like you do, that along the way you deserve to make a decent amount of money, to have the things and to do those things that you love.

You are setting off on a career in architecture and this is just the beginning, coming out of the comfort zone of the college. You are bound to be a bit apprehensive. You have heard things about the real world, that it is neither receptive nor rewarding for many.

You could be looking for a bit of reassurance…maybe, even, a sort of strategy. I thought sharing something about the world I have seen can prepare you as you begin your journey.

I can tell you that, two decades after my entry into the world of practice, things are not much different today! The lack of competition and the lack of opportunities back then, balance the abundance of both, in the present.

People’s aspiration for a qualitative life is forever in conflict with greed for consumption and ignorance of vision. The clients, and their sentiments, are always at odds with honest expression and bold thought. The demand is always for more of the predetermined, a commodity coated with imagery. It has always been a developer led world, profit always dominating true expression of value. The icing sells and mediocrity rules. True discretion in building of a sustainable environment and a human centric community is mostly ignored.

Then, there is the individual struggle to get a foothold in this world. The remuneration for the beginner is never justifiable and it takes quite a few years to get a commission that secures you for a while. Till then, you feel pushed to accept whatever comes your way, you make adjustments and you wonder if you will ever get into the groove before your passion and enthusiasm for the real thing wanes away. Every new work comes with strings attached and you keep satisfying the clients more and of yourself less, just to keep going. It never seems to stop.

You also see some of your peers start off in a flash.. commissions, display and glory. They are often in a hurry, running towards projects and accolades. I have also seen that some of the best beginnings end up in a collection of soulless projects.

The architectural career is surely not without hope though, and this is where I would like to present a perspective to you. While the beginning is confusing, even difficult, I believe, that one has a choice.

In that beginning, the heart is full of hope, even though fear and anxiety reside alongside. Self confidence is like an evasive lover, as one sets off on the enormous task of sculpting one’s career, but there is also the promise of time, and a limitless energy. There is the capability of growth.

So what does one choose at the beginning? How does one know that the path one has chosen would lead to eventual glory? How does one know that the passion of the present grows into a love that endures through life?

You never know in the beginning, but then you make it happen as you walk onto the road ahead and commit yourself to the path. This may confuse you. The path you chose by default or by emotional judgement can’t always be a wise choice, you think.

The choice is not so much about that specific job, area, place of work as you start, but it is really about what you seek. The vision and the search should be directed towards learning. To grow in a direction that enables you to create a niche, where your work speaks about your aspiration. It is then, that you are led into a life of passion and that becomes your destiny.

The only journey worthwhile is towards expanding your experience. Travel, internships, experiments and research. To go beyond the day to day anxieties and seek learning in everything you do, every work asked of you, and your hunger to go beyond and deliver. To gain trust, and to not be afraid to fail.

The pursuit of glory is to sustain the dream of a nobler vision… one that keeps you inspired throughout your life. You choose the battles that are worthy, you do not seek the shallow victories but you embrace the losses that teach you and strengthen you. The mightier the enemy, the more you learn.

Then life is not an everyday struggle. It is the joy of living everyday. It is not about the battles, it is always about the war. Only in that, there is joy.

 by Samarendra M.Ramachandra 

                                                              Featured image:  


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