Monday, January 12, 2015

Is Architecture in your Blood?

This is an excerpt from 'Like father, like son' - something I wrote discussing the proclivity of architect's children to follow in their parents' footsteps.

In a recent article in the Architectural Record by Laura Raskin writes; - “Architects begets architects, so it seems.  Eliel Sarinen had Eero Sarinen; two of Frank Lloyd Wright’s, John and Lloyd became architects.  Walter Gropius’s father was an architect.

To add  to  her list - two  of  I. M.  Pei’s four  sons are architects, Nick and Glenn Murcutt.  Not just the sons either, Moshe Safdie’s daughter, Taal is an architect. In Kuching, the children of Dato Sri John Lau, Mike Boon, Chiew Chung Yee, Juliah Sabri and Chang Jih Ren are following in their parent’s footsteps.

So, is architecture  in your blood?  

Some geneticists  believe there might be some basis in this thinking that since we inherit human variation such as hair and eye colour from our parents – there is a  genetical  context  for  creative  talent.  Furthermore,  there  are theories that artistic talent is more heritable than scientific  talent and since architecture is a curious mix of art and science – children of architects  may be more likely to become architects. But that is just a theory. (Architects are more likely to marry architects  – but that’s another story)

Many others think that it is the environment – in Raskin’s article, Taal Safdie was ‘breathing architecture’ – a heady mix of job-sites, client dinners and office  flurry, from a very young age. She spent part of her childhood living in Habitat ’67 – the Montreal apartment complex designed by her father. I have met steel fabricators  and carpenters who would have made brilliant architects had they been exposed to the ‘right’ environment when they were young.

The reasons for a child’s tendency to follow the parents’ profession are probably a combination of both nature and nurture. Although in Asia could there be a third factor - parental pressure? On second thoughts, this is unlikely since our profession commands too little pay for way too much work. No self-respecting Asian mother would want that for her child. Sam has been nudging Sean towards dentistry  “shorter   hours,  more  money,  fewer  arguments  about fees” – she is an interior designer.

Ultimately,  architecture  is  more  a  lifestyle  than  a  profession  – the love of what we do daily may play a part in sub consciously determining our children’s’ profession.

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