17 Stressful Situations Only Architects Can Relate To

From the moment we attend our very first lecture to the peak of our careers, architects are plagued with stressful events that are unlike any other profession. Meeting deadlines, dealing with planning and fabricating the dreams of our clients, our job can be intense and extremely demanding.

Often when we complain about it to our non-architect friends, however much they try, they don’t quite understand. They are not used to the impact that moving a staircase or rotating a plan might have on our workload, nor can they relate to losing a favorite pen. But among ourselves, we can wallow in our pain together as we go through just what makes our job so stressful (and rewarding)!

1. The Printing Coming Out Wrong

You’ve waited 5 hours and possibly had to pay a small fortune, so the last thing you need is the green to come out yellow or the edges of your building to be cut off. However many times you have sent things to be printed, there always seems to be yet another thing to forget.

2. Snapping the Lead on Your Mechanical Pencil

Or equally not being able to use the last few centimeters without it popping back into the pen itself. The value of lead to an architect is something that cannot be calculated.

3. CAD Having a Mind of its Own

We have all been there, trying to draw a line and it just won’t stick—befriending the nearest corner or midpoint instead. In the grand scheme of things, it is only a minor issue, but at the wrong time it can seem like the end of the world.

4. Running Out of Black in Your Wardrobe

© Andrea Vasquez

If it is even possible for an architect to run out of black clothing, we are put in the unfamiliar and slightly scary situation of having to style an outfit using color.

5. Modeling Software Lagging and Slowing Down

If the model has over a million edges then you may as well give up (unless you have some kind of supercomputer), rather than pulling your hair out over simply rotating the scene.

6. The Client’s Unrealistic Expectations

Sometimes it seems that clients are unable to grasp how much work it takes to design a building—of course we can’t change an entire plan in a day. We are not wizards that can create time (even if we like to think we are) but human beings that want to be able to go home and rest at the end of the day.

7. Forgetting Your Headphones

© Andrea Vasquez

Striking right before the model-making marathon, this is possibly an architect’s worst nightmare. An even worse scenario than forgetting headphones: they break.

8. Being Liable for Buildings Years After They are Built

When the heavens open and the rain starts pouring down, a part of you prays you won’t get a phone call from a previous client asking why their home is leaking. It’s easy to point the finger at the architect, but maybe we can leave this one with the engineers.

9. Software Crashes

Our love-hate relationship with technology continues. We are all too familiar with the panic that rushes through our body when the error pops up in AutoCAD—questioning the last time you saved and the possibility of losing all of your work. 

10. Not Having a Pen When an Idea Hits

Wherever you are that isn’t your desk can present the risky situation of being unequipped. We need to make sure we always have our trusty Moleskine and favourite pen on hand to avoid such catastrophes.

11. Opposing Advice from Colleagues or Tutors

There is no such thing as universal taste. architecture is a subjective profession where conflicting opinions from people are all too common. At the end of the day, whichever decision you make you need to be able to back up yourself.

12. The Faces in SketchUp not Autofilling

Probably one of the most stressful points on this list; hours can be spent messing about to simply fill in the area. Once there are too many edges, you are tempting fate as the likelihood of SketchUp cooperating decreases rapidly.

13. Misplacing Your Scale Ruler

© Andrea Vasquez

Which colleague stole it this time? Or is it just hidden under the piles of plans sat on your desk?

14. Meeting with the Residents

Going on community consultations can seem like walking into a battlefield—after all, it's their neighborhood you are planning to build in. It is impossible to predict all the rather peculiar issues the community might have, not to mention the vocal resident at the back disputing your scheme.

15. Using Slow Computers

There is nothing worse than a computer which can’t keep up. Time is priceless for architects and we can’t afford to be sat there mindlessly waiting for it to do its thing before the entire system just gives up.

16. The Printer Running Out of Paper or Ink

© Andrea Vasquez

This always seems to happen right before a big deadline when you are running around like an idiot, desperately searching for any sign of paper or ink.

17. Last Minute Changes

Two hours before the presentation to the client and the creative director comes up to you and suggests moving an entire wall or curving it. The idea may be valid but the timescale is certainly not.

Images for this article were kindly provided by Andrea Vasquez.

About this author
Cite: Ella Thorns. "17 Stressful Situations Only Architects Can Relate To" 27 Nov 2017. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/884140/17-stressful-situations-only-architects-can-relate-to> ISSN 0719-8884

© Andrea Vasquez


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