ArchitecTypes- what kind of architect are you? part 1 of 4

We Architects are a curious species- even more so if one delves into the sub-species of the genome. Over the years I have encountered many types of Architects- and I myself have been morphing throughout my career. I thought it would be interesting to document my ‘sightings’ over the years. The sub-species below indicate the primary traits. While 100% pure sub-species exist, they are extremely rare- the typical is an interbreeding of many. Use this as a field guide, and track your own personal journey with-in the ArchitecTypes as you shift past and through the architectural planes.

The ArchitecTypes have been broken down into 4 separate posts- primarily to reduce the verbiage so some might actually read this post.

ArchitecTypes part 1:

The All-Star:
Key Characteristics: Employment usually achieved by being a friend of a principal, limited design talent but a ‘whiz kid’ at any and all software, the ladies usually think he’s dreamy- a Leif Garret for the new millennium (without all the legal and drug abuse issues), believes that the Teen Choice Awards are credible, goes the extra mile to get things done, needs supervision but a decent worker

Identifiers:Typically a male and a recent graduate, referred to by management as “sport”, “chief”, “big guy”, etc., extremely handsome, so much so other guys can even admit to his striking good looks, key man on the league volleyball team, usually golden in color


The ‘Meeter’:
Key Characteristics: If you spot one in the office and you happen to corner or threaten them with any decision needed from them, they will look down at their BlackBerry and yell “Got to go! I have a meeting at that place with that person about that stuff that only I know about,” while the individual is constantly attending ‘meetings’, no one can corroborate such meetings nor is any new work generated from such meetings

Identifiers: Typically absent from office, at ‘meetings’, due to their prolific absence no specific identifiers can be confirmed, clients will question who this person is and whether they really exist or is the bill being padded with shadow architects


The Academic:
Key Characteristics: Book smart, captivating speaker, although they know things do get built- they themselves have typically never had a project constructed, theorizes ad nauseam why a home located on Lloyd Wright way in Hibbing MN must be on axis with Fallingwater in Mill Run PA, hangs up the college lecture series posters but never actually attends (they know it all already)

Identifiers: Sports a real turtleneck (no mockery turtle necks), corduroy pants are of the thick-rib type (tracing back to toughskins), eyeglasses of Corbusian lineage, bow tie, sport jacket with elbow patches, owns a slide rule, some sub-sub-species don ascots


The “I’m an Architect”:
Key Characteristics: Typically graduated low in their class, barely passed the ARE’s, their holiday card will have the entire family in matching clothes and some ‘toy’ version of a dog as well, limited interpersonal client skills, clients develop a disdain for the individual, oddly they usually have excellent free hand drawing skills and are adept designers

Identifiers: Greets all with “I’m an Architect”, refers to themselves in the first person as “I, the Architect”, second person as “I, the Architect”, and third person as “he/she, the Architect”, uses the term Architect in describing themselves at a minimum of 783 times a day, yells at clients when clients questions their ‘architectural-ness’, this makes “I’m an Architect” upset and angry- unfortunately they do not turn green nor do they become a better architect


Can you relate to these sub-species? If not stay tuned, the following sub-species shall be presented in subsequent ArchitecTypes ‘installments’:

Part 2: The Designer, The Pragmatist, The Project Architect/Manager and
          The Studio Manager

Part 3: The Poser, The Clueless, The 9 to 5’er, and The Lifer

Part 4: The Gentleman, The All Biz, The Gifted, and The Starchitect

Please feel free to post sub-species of your own witness or additional characteristics and/or identifiers to the sub-species already indicated. My ultimate goal is to produce an episode on MonsterQuest (I’m looking right at you History Channel) that attempts to track down these sub-species. They never catch or film a ‘monster’ so why not? Or go with Plan B, develop the sub-species of the architect genome into a prescribed dogma that can be taught at the collegiate level- with a syllabus and all!

(Read this in a deep Walter Cronkite/Tone Loc voice)…….It’s some crazy times out here in architecture land, keep on designing and keep a sense of humor!

  1. Head of nail, consider yo-self hit!
    Nice post Keith… Can’t wait til part 3 – I’m hoping I’m the “poser”

  2. Very funny, there must be a complete sub category on extreme Eco-architects?

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