Q+A: Who Do You Look Up To and Why?

Who do you look up to and why? How have these people helped you through your architectural studies / career and helped to form your perspective today?

Kieran wants to know who I look up to, and how have these people helped me throughout my studies. I’ve had a range of influences, but I think I’ll touch on five of the key ones. Just a heads up, I won’t be naming names, as that just something I’ve done since the beginning.

1_ Family – if you are a long-time reader of this blog, you’ve probably seen a post or two about my dad, such as I Remember and Not Just a Shed. He was a man I look up to, and one of the things I most admired about him was his work ethic. He found something he loved, which was laying bricks, and did that for as long as he physically could. Hell I remember him pouring concrete in the morning, and that afternoon going to the hospital for chemotherapy. He once cut a cast of his wrist because it was getting in the way of laying bricks. His ‘retirement plan’ involved planting 2,000 protea bushes. It’s this that I admire and look up. In terms of helping me through my studies, it’s not like he helped with detailing but instead he offered support.

And just on family, there’s also my older brother. Now we don’t see eye-to-eye on a lot of things, in fact there was a disagreement a couple days ago, but I do look up to him. I go to him for advice, both big picture and small picture stuff, and he has offered a lot of support both mentally but also financially. I’m also a little jealous that he has dad’s work ethic.

2_ Undergrad tutors – there were two tutors from my bachelors that really helped shaped my perspective today. I think I was quite blessed having the tutor I had for my very first studio at university, and while I can’t remember the wisdom he shared we do remain friends. He has shown me that there is no predefined path, that you don’t have to go on and be an architect to have a great life. The other tutor was in my second year (or third year studio… confusing I know) and he really pushed the importance of sketching on to me. Prior to that studio I barely sketched, but he soon showed me why I should be sketching to help communicate ideas. Not only that, even after the studio he remained an influence, even critiquing my Masters portfolio prior to submission. I know this seems like a little thing, but it’s the little things that tells you about a person.

3_ Postgrad tutor – of course we can’t have a question like this without acknowledging a tutor I had in my second studio in Masters. To save re-writing everything, read An Explanation then Where Am I Now? to get the low-down. The impact she had on my studies and career has been huge, and during the little existential crisis of course I was blaming her. However being on the other side and now reflecting, I do have to thank her because I am very happy where I am right now and the path I’m heading, and I wouldn’t be here without her.

4_ Work bosses – I’ve had three main bosses, each having lasting effect. In terms of the help through my studies, I mean they provided me with financial stability. When I think of the most stressful times of my studies, usually it’s when I’m jobless and extremely poor. Having that constant stress of ‘Will I have enough money for food?’ and ‘Can I pay my bills and rent?’ makes everything so much worse. Two of my bosses have been in the building game, so I’ve been able to learn so much in terms of construction and detailing. In fact I like to think I’m one of the leading minds in modular precast concrete modular construction in Australia! My third, and current boss, saw something in me and has given me a role with a huge amount of responsibility. That does give me confidence, and also stress.

Now there’s probably been more, however if I start to go through everybody this will become too long of a post. Not to mention I’m already 2.5 months late in writing this, sorry Kieran!

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