Types of Architects

To non-architects every architect is the same black attired, slightly pompous person, who they rarely see because they are always working. But like every other self absorbed professional discipline we architects know that we are not all the same. There are quite a few types of architects, such as stararchitects who are out there in a studio far, far away or architecture students who always greet you like Mr Spock because their fingers are stuck together with superglue. Sci-fi types aside the following three types of architects constitute the most common types, the ones that no studio would ever be complete without.

The Sensualists

The Sensualists are the secret envy of all other architects because they only draw conceptual sketches and they take all the credit for projects.  They also tend to travel a lot and have a PA. The Sensualists can talk the talk but cannot walk the walk i.e. they have no idea how to actually build anything.

The Sensualists have a very charming persona and they always gossip about other architects. They have excellent small talk and a very stylist dress code: black but with the occasional hint of colour, usually the Pantone of the year. This type wears a slightly stronger than average fragrance in order to capture not only your visual sense but also your sense of smell.

Even though they can draw amazing signature sketches by hand -which they later Photoshop- they have never really got around using CAD.  The Sensualists are very media savvy and although they cannot draft a bay window detail, they can draft an exciting and engaging press release for anything, making even their studio’s latest health and safety meeting sound news worthy.

Their design ideas are visually spectacular as they tend to think outside the box but rarely inside the budget. Their proposals always challenge the limitations of the physical world and thus Sensualists love to whine about how engineers just-do-not-get-them.

When Sensualists work late it is usually because they are working on paintings for their private art exhibition. They believe that function should serve form and that God is in details like furniture specification and lighting. In dinner parties they would claim that they are inspired by Lubetkin but the truth is that they have a secret crush on Koolhaas.

The Romantics

The Romantic architects would never sell their soul to work for any architect that designs anything too tall or too big. They idolize small studios that design huts from rammed earth in woodlands. They despise building regulations as they strongly believe that heating and electricity should be optional and their dream is to build their house with their own hands.

The Romantics don’t look like architects as they don’t always wear black. On their nights out they criticize other sinful architects who started working for commercial architectural firms. Intriguingly, the skeleton in their closet is that they did their work experience in one of these commercial firms and although it’s on their CV they would never reveal it to other Romantics.

The quality of their drawings is very high but they are inefficient as it would take them about a year to design a bench.  The Romantics don’t do small talk; if they talk it is for hours. On average they need a two hour monologue, which will have the word “Fibonacci” in every other sentence to explain the conceptual driving force behind their latest organic staircase. When they talk about their work they always use their hands as if they are feeling something so that they subliminally transmit the message that materiality and tactility is very important to them.

The Pragmatists

The Pragmatists are a very frequently found architectural species and they  always wear black. Every studio has a lot of them because if it weren’t for the Pragmatists nothing would get planning permission or actually get built. They are fully aware of this and their bad temper is attributed to the fact that they are never given enough credit for their diligent work.

They have a very thorough knowledge of building regulations, construction details and the planning procedure. They only draw black and white CAD drawings and use hatches only when they want to have some fun on their lunch break. The Pragmatists are not only minimalists with colour but with words as well. Their laconic phrases refer either to problematic contractors or to the studio’s Sensualist lack of building design knowledge.

The Pragmatists’ devotion to their purpose can only be compared to that of professional athletes. Similarly, to athletes Pragmatists tend to get very competitive but only about sleep and salary as they feel a peculiar sense of accomplishment when they are the ones that sleep less or get paid less than others. The Pragmatists are indeed the martyrs of our profession…


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