Where I’m Coming From: Vocation and Avocation

I came to architecture through a desire to change the world for the better.  This sounds like naïveté but that isn’t really a problem for me.  I don’t expect to make any noticeable dent in the world’s ills through my work … but lofty aspirations are a key ingredient to accomplishing anything.  I saw architecture as a way to influence people’s lives for good and I still believe that it can and does.

The daily work of architectural design can seem very isolated from the real world and from any possibility of influencing it for good or for ill.   I’m lucky to have a job that is as rooted in the real world as I do.  My goal is always to forge a connection in my mind between the buildings I work on and the people who inhabit them.  It all comes down to the question of doing things for the right reasons, in the end.  I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the Robert Frost poem,  “Two Tramps in Mud Time,” which ends,

“… yield who will to their separation,
My object in living is to unite
My avocation and my vocation
As my two eyes make one in sight.
Only where love and need are one,
And the work is play for mortal stakes,
Is the deed ever really done
For Heaven and the future’s sakes.”

I believe that it is vital for vocation and avocation to be one, for a moral compass to point the way to work and for that work to be joyful.  Perhaps I am aiming too high.  But what of worth has every been accomplished that didn’t start with lofty aspirations?

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