Why I love what I do

Why I love what I do

Since childhood I wanted to be an architect. I had the usual route, endless hours playing with Lego, a taste for drawing, often sketching house plans, imaginary palaces, spaceships, completely implausible vehicles, reinterpretations of the spaces I saw in animation movies or the ones with characters of flesh and bone. By chance my oldest son is also always drawing plans of houses full of gadgets, but as he has also interest in many things that never interested me, such as biology, I think the similarities stop there .

Basically, I wanted to be something that I didn’t even exactly knew what it was. I thought that an architect was just a guy who designed houses, which seemed pretty cool to me. It was an early call, but since I can remember I had no other except for wanting to be an astronaut, which for a kid raised in Portugal in the 70’s and that got easily sick on winding roads would have been a much more difficult career to achieve.

I have fulfilled my dream, I am an architect. It is a somewhat ungrateful job, especially when we compare ourselves, even at times when the crisis is not a concern, with our friends in other professions and the same age, who seem to have substantially higher incomes and benefits.

However I can’t imagine doing anything else, for a simple reason: I love what I do! I will point out some reasons:

  • The immense pleasure it is to imagine, from scratch, an object or a building and see it appear, develop as we thought or with the improvements we got to introduce during the process. We are witnessing the realization of our dreams, the product from our (often delusional) imagination. And this reason alone would be more than enough to make this a fantastic profession. But there are a few more;
  • The feeling we sometimes have that we can positively influence people's lives, increasing the quality of the space they move on, inspiring them and giving them a customized solution, tailored to their exact needs.
  • The ability that we have to change the landscape. There is no doubt about it - a work of architecture always involves altering the landscape in which it occurs. Sometimes in very degraded environments, our intervention is the engine that inspires retraining, other times we have a site that is already beautiful and we will add to it, modify it, making it necessarily different and unique. Better.
  • The constant process of learning with all players evolved in the construction process. Each work or design that we do enriches our capabilities, enables us to experience new things, correct mistakes and to learn better or smarter ways of doing things, which we will use in the new challenges.
  • The ongoing and stimulating challenge to face each new project with entirely different assumptions from those already held. Someone will pay us to think, using our imagination, in a solution to a puzzle with many variables. Basically to do what we like and have been improving over the years.

And sometimes, and there are only few of them, when we hit the target and get to do something really different, beautiful or that makes perfect sense, we become filled with pride, we get thrilled and with high self-esteem.

In the best moments, this profession is sort of an ego-trip. And when that happens we just think it can´t get any better!