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.