This could be number one. It’s the single most important lesson for an architect. Don’t fall in love with anything you do. Things change all the time and circumstances are like dominoes. One thing affects the other. Get used to the fact that your ideas, design, details, drawings, models and specifications are in constant flux until their built - and even after that!
9. You’re not a designer yet
It takes a while to be the Design Architect in an office. Especially if it’s a large office. Resign yourself to the fact that your young and know very little. Work hard and climb the ladder.
8. Trial by fire is good
When I was a young intern I worked in small offices. I was thrown into project management quickly. All the mistakes I made stung but there is nothing like on the job training. Mistakes and failure make you better.
7. Learn the rules
Codes and zoning ordinances are a big deal. You can spend a lot of time designing something to later find out you can’t do it. Learn the rules and don’t present design to a client that can’t be done. It’s bad for business.
6. Listen to the general contractor
If you’re working with a good general contractor they’re someone you can learn from. When you manage a job, visit the site, give your opinion but always ask for theirs too. It garners respect and you’ll learn something in the process.
5. Architecture is a team sport
You should be decent at working with other people, because unless you’re the principal, you’ll be sharing responsibilities. The success of an office is intertwined with everyone involved on a job. The better you can work with others, the better off you’ll be.
4. Listen and write good meeting minutes
If the contractor is not doing the meeting minutes, you are. Listen closely, summarize well and keep it short. It will save the office time and money.
Howard Roark won’t like this, but architecture is about compromise. Unless you’re Frank Gehry and you tell the clients what they’re getting it’s usually the other way around.
2. Don’t get too big for your britches
You will make mistakes and some are worth 100’s of thousands of dollars to the client or the owner. Remember, pride cometh before the fall. Shut up, listen, don’t brag and do the best you can. You will fail. Expect it.
1. Never say no
Never, Never, Never tell a client you CAN”T do something. Tell them you’re reviewing it. If you really can’t do something have options you can do.