In 2009 and 2010 Architecture had the highest unemployment of any professional profession. While I have not technically been unemployed because I am self-employed it feels the same when the phone never rings. The housing bubble pop drove the cost of homes below the cost of the commodities to build them. And so, for some time, there has been little housing construction. This slow down has, understandably, caused some reflection. It has made me realize how much I love doing residential architecture, and how much I want to do more of it.
In my career I have had the opportunity to design and be part of just about every type of building project. I have designed schools, labs, offices, hotels, restaurants, churches, car washes, apartments, condominiums just to name a few. But for some reason, I always come back to houses. There are probably more types, shapes, sizes and styles of houses than any other type of building in the world. And yet, everyone is still trying to figure out how to do it just right.
More learning, growing, changing, loving, helping, crying, hating, and every other human emotion happens in homes than anywhere else. If ever there was a place to study the impact of the built environment on development, dispositions, IQ’s, creativity or anything else it is the home. And yet, it’s the one type of building that almost universally does not require a professional to design. And that’s as it should be. For all that it is, it should first be free. Not that it costs nothing or is worth nothing, but that it should be unrestrained.
This is why I love designing homes. It’s because it’s not just about building. It’s about, as corny as it sounds, people. I love trying to discover just the right design, layout and life pattern for the people I design houses for. I love to see their faces when we get close, and I hurt inside when we don’t and I love the challenge in redoubling my effort to make it right. I love to talk to a client years afterwards and hear them tell me that the house is just as perfect now as it was when they moved in. I love to learn about them, and their family. I love becoming their friends.
More than the income that I have missed during the last 3 years, I have missed making homes. Now that it seems people are starting to consider building their dream homes again, I can’t wait to help again with a vigor that can only come from unquenched desire. For most people who build their own homes, it is the single largest expenditure they will ever make. I think it’s my responsibility to make sure they get it right.