I Am An Architect!

These four words used to mean everything to me. Since I was about 3 to 4 years old, I knew I wanted to design buildings, I knew I wanted to spend my time drawing and thinking about spaciousness, combinations of materials and how people live in and use a building. Architecture has always fascinated me, even in my childhood dreams I often fantasised about the perfect house to live in, a house designed by me.

When I got older, architecture started to become a part of my life. First with my drawing classes, in which I was mostly focussed on textures and buildings. But also in my math classes I was able link geometry to the understanding of shapes I had seen in architecture.

Outside of school architecture started to take over as well, when I grew up. I visited famous buildings during my holidays, I bought a camera with which I photographed not only buildings but interesting textures, reflections and materials as well, and every building I passed by seemed to trigger my imagination.

I always knew I wanted to become an architect, from the day I learned the meaning of this word. There just wasn’t anything that interested me more, or even as much, as the structures around me did. So once I graduated high school I was excited, ready to finally start learning everything about this obsession I have had my whole life, ready to finally stert becoming what I had always wanted to be.

As expected, architecture became my passion once I started university. School became my hobby, something I truly enjoyed and couldn’t stop doing. Off course there where a few boring classes, but 90% of what I had to do to graduate was something I loved to do. In a way, I became the biggest architeture geek I have ever known, studying 24/7, trying to the best, or at least, doing the best I could for everything I did.

Architecture never bored me, I never got enough of it. The way of thinking about everything that surrounds us, the creativity and complexity that hides in every building, never stopped to fascinate me. With architecture school I truly found my purpose in life, or at least the thing I would love doing for the time I’m obliged to earn money with a job.

After university, I worked for myself for a while, helping local archtects with visualisation and invention. After a couple of months however, I realized that I wasn’t done learning yet, I wasn’t ready to settle for repeating the knowledge I had gained during university. I wasn’t ready to just help other architects with the things I was good at, instead, I wanted to become a better architect myself. This is the moment that I foundmy current job, a job as an architect at a big international firm.

The first two years as a real architect where amazing, working on real projects, with people that had been actually building things for years was even more interesting than all the projects I had done at university. I discovered how amazingly complex a real building is, with all the different disciplines and little details that have to fit together, like a giant jigsaw puzzle of wich the final result stays hidden until ithe puzzle is fully completed.

Every buiding is made up of so many little peices, created by so many different sources. The client makes some pieces for the puzzle, but so do I as an architect, the environment, the structural engineer, the future neighbors and users, the municipality and the fire fighters, and so much more. As an architect, I am the one that has to complete the puzzle, but this does not mean I’m just combining the pieces, instead, some pieces need to be reshaped in order to fit, sometimes new pieces need to be added or old pieces have to be removed. Together with the owner of each puzzle piece I have to find a way to mak it fit, and this is what makes architecture so incredibly interesting to me. There is no certainty about the outcome, there is not one way to do things, every project is different and in a way, completely new, and this is what I love so much about it.

However, things started changing when I did. In the year my father got cancer and a heart attack, the year I lost my grandpa, the year I had to care for my family, I started to loose the joy I used to feel when I was working. Especially after my grandpa passed away, I noticed that I stared to spend less time at the office, feeling like I didn’t want to be there anymore. I built a shield of hate to deal with the pain from loosing him, but this shield was most present when I was doing the thing I used to love. I don’t know why, but I started to hate the projects I was working on, my colleagues and the whole architecture environment. Architecture started to make me angry, it started to take my energy and within a year I broke down.

I started work again a while ago and I notice how logging into my office computer, again (or still) creates feelings of anger and frustration. I try to blame it on the work I have to do, I try to blame it on my colleagues not understanding what I’m going through or on my boss not challenging me with creativity and complexity. I blame my company for me not enjoying architecture anymore, but is it really them, or did something inside change after my grandpa died?

My grandpa has always believed in me becoming an architect, he was my biggest supporter, and even when he found me in a bar during school hours, he believed that I was going to make it. In a way, my love for architecture was linked to him, he was the one who told me about the meaning of the word archtect, he let me build, paint and draw when I was young and he was the one I would tell everything I learned and showed everything I made. And he was always proud of me.

My interest in architecture is conected with my granpa, but is it possible that loosing him is the reason I lost interest in my passion? Or did loosing him made scared of other things I love, scared of loosing my love for architecture? I don’t know…

What I do know is that after my grandpa passed away, I had this feeling of failing at work, like the pain of loosing him prevented me from being good in my job. I felt like I needed time to cry, but I couldn’t out of fear of loosing my position in the office. So I kept working through the pain, hoping that succees would ease the pain. Unfortunately it did not.

I guess I started to blame my work, for not being good enough, for not being able to replace what I had lost. On the other hand, I started blaming myself, for being distracted, for not being as good as I used to be. My work prevented me from the grieve I needed, but this grieve prevented me from work. The longer I kept going the harder it got for me, feeling trapped in bad emotions.

However, right now, I did cry, I did take time to deal with the pain of loosing my grandpa. I should be able to enjoy my passion again, but still I can not. I lost the one thing I believed I did right in my life and this scares me more than anything. It hurts to loose this passion, it hurts to notice how parts of the job I loved simply don’t interest me anymore, how I just stopped caring for things that used to be most important to me. What if this love I used to have for architecture never returns? What if architecture is just not the right job for me anymore? What am I supposed to do then?

I just really hope I’ll find a way to fall back in love…

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