There are times of distress and times of brightness in the day-to-day life of any person in this world. How does a day or weekend feel like for an architect? That cannot be answered with one standard line or reply. It requires multiple perspectives and even then, the experience or lifestyle would not be similar. This article delves into the lives of a few architects around the world, some known and some, not so much.
Firstly, the perspective of architects working in India is taken into account since that is easily relatable. Usually, the infamous work-life balance of an architect is not so fancy, as everybody knows. Starting the day with a cup of hot steaming coffee on desks filled with heaps of papers and scattered pencils does not go unnoticed. Days are filled with client meetings and Autocad drawings, and nights are filled with a little food and of course, sleep. Walking back home while the city is sleeping might just be flavorful if there is an assortment of Naan and curry with a finishing touch of dessert.
One architect reveals that the reason interviews are conducted over lunch sometimes is that both activities happen simultaneously and get completed. This not only cools down the ambiance but also saves time due to a time constraint that people automatically set for lunch.
A typical day at work changes over time for every architect starting from more workload and less responsibility to more coordination and responsibility. Depending on the role or designation, the type of work changes but the profession helps to grow as an architect and on a personal level due to continuous collaboration, reviews, and change.
The positive aspect of the working phase is that a team grows not only professionally, but on a personal level due to the nature of work. This is the outcome of going through client meetings individually, solving problems on a daily level, hearing constructive criticism, and having to get through long workdays with a smile.
Amy Johnson is an Associate Architect at Gensler who has been practicing for more than 10 years. Her experience starts with a trip through the metro with the headlines from a newspaper. The Nespresso Machine at her workplace is the next stop where there are discussions over popular TV shows. Coffee is common to all professions but to bond at the coffee station over TV shows in a dynamic and stressful work environment is certainly unique.
Johnson usually divides her day to finish solo tasks in the morning and collaboration work after lunch. After work, she reserves time for volunteering and a visit to the site. She believes that site visits enhance the experience of seeing a design come to life. To keep up her work-life balance, she indulges in a yoga session offered at Gensler and leaves to go home and try out new restaurants and design personal projects.
Going on to a different perspective, Dennis Dorman, a Senior Associate at Perkins+Will has his experience to tell the world. “What I love about my job is that no two days are the same,” he said. “A part of the day,” Dorman said, “is spent at the computer, writing reports and emails.”
On most days you would see Dorman handling multiple projects and on-the-go to get to a place and to try something new, with a lot of meetings to go over projects and review schedules in the workplace. This is interesting as, except the last part which mostly occurs in office spaces, the rest is the same for most architects, and students studying Architecture.
Most of the day is spent on the computer, working, reviewing, collaborating, and studying. The workload might be the same during different phases, but it is the intensity and priorities that change.
Dorman says, “There are a lot of directions you can take with your degree, and you do not have to decide now.” This is refreshing and reassuring advice a lot of Architects and students are unaware of the next big thing or step.
There is something common or interesting about these diaries. So, the weekdays can be pretty long and busy, but the weekends are generally like any other with warm apple pies and extended breakfast. Despite having the weekend to do different tasks, the brain is almost wired to ponder about the upcoming tasks and meetings over the weekdays. It is surprising that more time gets dissolved in meetings and interactions with people and not designing something.
Again, the cycle revolves around Architecture. Now, this does not mean anything negative, but it is to emphasize that Architecture is an experience that runs through everybody’s lives, but Architects have slight control over the magic and see it come to life. The magic that runs behind the design is laborious to go through but presents a result for the world to see and appreciate.
NCARB (2016). A Day in the Life of an Architect: Amy Johnson. [online]. (Last updated 04 March 2016). Available at: A Day in the Life of an Architect: Amy Johnson | NCARB – National Council of Architectural Registration Boards [Accessed 10 September 2021].
BerkeleyConnect. A Day in the Life of an Architect. [online]. Available at: » A Day in the Life of an Architect (berkeley.edu) [Accessed 10 September 2021].
Lifeofanarchitect (2014). A Day in the Life of an Architect. [online]. (Last updated 01 December 2014). Available at: A Day in the Life of an Architect | Life of an Architect [Accessed 10 September 2021].