I would not want you to be an architect

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This could possibly be the first and most popular advise an architect would give to a would be architecture student:

“If you were a son of mine, I wouldn’t want you to be an architect,” Peter Eisenman said, “because it’s a tough way to be in the world. Look, my son who graduated from law school three years ago makes more than I do after 40 years of working.”

Last week, Peter Eisenman sold his 21st-floor apartment at 101 West 12th Street, he has been living there for quite sometime, most architects prefer to design their own house and actually live in it, Peter Eisenman on the other hand prefer not to. “I would never live in anything I design,” he told The Observer.

Back to the money making issue, today my lecturer told us that in Western Australia a construction labor cost about $400 per day, I would assume the worker has at least 10 – 20 years of experience in the construction industry, but $400 per day is crazy. A graduate architect in Western Australia get paid around $3000 per month, doesn’t make any sense right?

Source: The New York Observer.



11 Comments

  1. Philip
    Philip
    August 17, 2007

    Peter Eisenman saying he wont live in anything he designs…. wow, how telling.

    Not that I have anything against his work, quite the opposite really. However if I guess then that the early House series were just formalist masturbates, having scammed a client into being his sponsor.

    Reply
  2. Calvin
    Calvin
    August 17, 2007

    Some of the houses are horrible, stairs that leads no where, column that doesn’t carry and load… am not saying all houses should be technically sounds but eisenman’s early design, especially the house doesn’t make any sense… he should live in it.

    Reply
  3. Michelle Linden
    Michelle Linden
    August 18, 2007

    I don’t think that I would necessarily advise an architecture student against being an architect, however I would do my best to make very clear the difficulties in being a practicing architect. There is such a difference between school and work, its almost a trick we play on students. Add the lack of pay (which we all seem willing to deal with if it means fabulous, thought provoking work) to the reality of day to day architecture, and the end result can be very disappointing. I don’t think I would have changed majors or direction, but I do wish that someone/anyone had been a bit more straightforward with me regarding the reality of daily architectural life.

    Reply
  4. Philip
    Philip
    August 18, 2007

    Hear, hear michelle!
    Maybe we should get our internships period done *before* or *throughout* our university education. I wouldnt mind an extra year or two on my degree if as a result i gain:
    – a better idea of how professional practice actually works
    – the pragmatic details of real world architecture
    – a little pay on the side

    We would finish our education with the knowledge of what we are actually getting outselves into, as well as being much more capable (possibly already accredited?) and as a result our starting salaries would be much larger.

    Reply
  5. Mya
    Mya
    August 20, 2007

    Well, I interned for 6 months during my course to be a landscape architect (and not even a pure architect), and already I wanted to flee because of the reality of the pay I will be getting. Liked the course, hated the prospect.

    Reply
  6. delpy
    delpy
    February 9, 2008

    i always wanted to study psychology, but my parents didnt like the idea, i argued but couldnt be courageous. then i wanted to be an industrial designer, my parents said again no, you wont be able to find a job. my dad is an architect, and my brother was also studying architecture and i chose it. but i find it very boring, i dont know if this is a way of objecting or to blame my parents, but i dont feel im doing the right thing, its not what i wanted. and architects get paid very little too. its been only one term i ve been studying architecture, but i dont want to waste my time maybe i should change it.. i regret my decision, and no one can do something about it. anyway, i just wanted to say what i think and feel. i hate this situation

    Reply
  7. Anonymous
    Anonymous
    May 30, 2008

    I didn’t always want to be an architect. I changed majors from engineering. It seemed like more fun, more artistic. I was determined and worked hard because I liked the idea of being artistic, but did not necessarily have the experience to back it up. I graduated valedictorian. I’ve been working for 2 years in an office now. I hate it. I’m a CAD monkey, everything I design (or anyone else in the firm designs), no matter how good, gets rejected by the boss. HE has to work through the problem or he’s not satisfied. I am learning web design in my free time now and still hope to start my own business some day, just not being an architect.

    Reply
  8. marco
    marco
    January 18, 2009

    I am curently an architect student. It is hard work and no sleep in sight, but overall the field is for people who enjoy being creative and artistic. It is a do or die field, some make it rich and most do not. But technically you do nopt have to be an architect with that degree. I am currently a kitchen designer and make up to 60,000 a year. Its up to people themselves to set their goals and reach that higher pay they seek. I am up there and hope to reach 250,000 by the time i graduate

    Reply
  9. Own
    Own
    April 22, 2009

    atleast Peter Eisenman produced Libeskind who is actually a decent architect.

    Reply
  10. Sleepless
    Sleepless
    March 23, 2010

    Well, having been an architecture student of two years (Kingston Uni, London), I now want to do something else. The work is not difficult. The work load is immense. The health implications and sleep deprivation of this degree are killers. Such a shame. I wish learning how to become an architect was more vocational.

    Reply
  11. vicky
    vicky
    June 30, 2010

    well, I’m an architecture student of four years and I think it’s the biggest mistake I’ve ever made. The work is not difficult, but I don’t think it’s very pleasant either. Lack of sleep is a major issue, and I don’t think it’s worthy

    Reply

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