Life As An Architect

Editors Note: This post is part of a series in conjunction with other architectural bloggers, spearheaded by @bobborson over at Each of us, on our blogs respectively, are answering the same questions. I'd like to hear your answers – leave yours in the comments below.

business millionaire over white - dollars coming down

This post is a little peek behind the ‘architectural kimono' (nod to @archispk).

Q: What kind of projects were you doing when you first started as an architect?

A: The first project I did (that I can remember) for a bona-fide architecture firm was a CMU restroom for a midget raceway (no kidding). It was a great starter project because I got to detail the whole thing at in had all the systems of a larger building, so it was a good thing to get started on. Thanks Chas Rhoads of Hanford, California (my employer at the time)!

Q: How many projects can you expect to be working on at once?

A: Depending on the size, I don't like to handle more than 2-3 projects at once (that are in the construction document phase). Any more than that and my production rate suffers as I currently do a lot of my own drafting.

Q: How often did/do you work in a team?

A: I've worked in a team for most of my career. Most of the offices I've worked in have been less than 10 people – so we are always a tight nit group. Communication is crucial and a small team helps.

Q: How important is an innovative mind to the company?

A: At my current company (which happens to be me) an innovative mind is valued slightly more than a fresh BLT sandwich with mayo (in other words – very highly).

Q: What key things do you look for in potential new hires?

A: The ability to learn. That's it. I've hired people at previous firms and been in hiring decisions – and ability (and willingness) to learn always scores higher on my list than current skills. In this profession one is still learning at 50 – so why expect anyone to know it all? On the other hand, the level of skill needed will vary depending on the type of position being filled.

Q: How important is diversity to your company?

A: Very important. I just wish I could clone myself.

Q: How big of a role does HR play in your company?

A: The managing of human resources is the #1 challenge in my business – because human capital is the most valuable resource I have.

Q: Would you say Architecture is a field for everyone?

A: Yes, as long as you can make it through 4-5 years of architecture school. The interesting thing is, the different kinds of jobs architects can do are so varied I think there is a spot for almost every type of person within architecture.

Q: What is the best asset in your company?

A: I think ‘company' is a bit overstated for a one-man shop. I'd have my greatest asset is the willingness to challenge convention (it's probably also my greatest weakness).

Q: Describe your best employee in one word?

A: Myself.

Q: What style architecture do you love most?

A: International.

Enoch Sears

Enoch Sears AIA is co-founder of the Design Firm Accelerator, a program that helps architects grow their income and impact through smart marketing. He’s famous for helping architects build a business that gives them more freedom and profit. He’s the founder of the Architect Business Institute and co-founder of the Architect Marketing Institute. He also hosts the #1 rated interview podcast for architects, the Business of Architecture Show where prominent guests like M. Arthur Gensler, Jr. and Thom Mayne share tips and strategies for success in architecture.

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