I usually entered the summer feeling really pumped and ready to accomplish something. I was always coming off a bout with finals, and I was in hustle mode. Like when you finish running and need to do a cool down lap, I usually felt the need to still focus on some minor side project I was working on or a book I wanted to read at the end of each semester. I would pour my energy into that thing for a day or two after my last finals until I ran out of steam and found myself sitting on the couch watching Sports Center and Netflix all day.
There is this idea that has stuck with me for a few years now and I can’t get it out of my head…
Our ancestors would have to work hard in the spring time to plant their crops. Their energy would rise from the dormant winter and they got the fields ready and the seeds planted. Then during the summer they would WORK in the summer heat tending to the fields. Then in the fall, the work revved up even more when it was time to harvest. They would spend the energy they had to harvest their crops and stock up their supplies for the winter. Then they would REST. They’d throw parties and festivals, and just chill. They were winding down for the winter where they would essentially hibernate and save their energy and save their food. The sun was in the sky less and it become a season of rest when they would build up the energy to tend to the fields in the spring again…
There were seasons that society lived by that governed our resting and working cycles. But today we don’t live by those natural rhythms. During the time we should be relaxing and winding down enjoying “festivals” like Thanksgiving and Christmas, schools are in the middle of final exams. And society pressures people to run around frantically buying stuff. You can feel the anxiety in the air, and I think it’s because we are resisting our own natural rhythms. During the summer, schools are on “summer vacation” and not doing anything if they don’t have summer jobs.
These natural rhythms are often resisted. Maybe we should try to structure our lives around working with the rhythm instead of against it.
Anyway, this is story I like to tell myself about how the world works. It might be wrong, but I think there is some truth in there somewhere.
Last summer was my first full summer working at my firm, and during that time my co-worker was out on maternity leave so I had to step up as best I could. I really hustled that summer both inside and outside the office. I often worked weekends, also I consistently uploaded YouTube videos, went to the gym, and I even moved to a new apartment. When my coworker came back the workload didn’t lighten up much, and the deadlines kept coming into the fall as my energy waned. I was literally burned out. I stopped going to the gym, I fell out of my routine uploading videos, and I always felt tired. Through the winter it was always a struggle to get to the gym and stick with the consistency of my “weekly” YouTube videos. There were times when I pulled off full effort at the office, AND the gym, AND my YouTube channel in the winter but it did not come as naturally as that time last summer.
I think about how we can design buildings in a way that can respect this age old rhythm…and IF that is even possible. So far, I don’t have a clear plan about how we could use this idea as architects aside from using natural lighting and ventilation and general sustainability. But I believe it is an interesting concept for architects to hear… (I could make a joke about “planting the seed,” but I’m not going to say it lol.)
Note: This is a post in a group series called #ArchiTalks in which Bob Borson of Life of an Architect gives a group of us architects a theme or a set of questions and we all post our response… this month’s theme: “Summer” To read what the others had to say, check out the links below…
Enoch Sears – Business of Architecture (@businessofarch)
Summer is a Great Time To Market Your Architecture Firm!
Bob Borson – Life of An Architect (@bobborson)
Marica McKeel – Studio MM (@ArchitectMM)
Summer : A Review
Lee Calisti, AIA – Think Architect (@LeeCalisti)
summer working, had me a blast
Evan Troxel – Archispeak Podcast / TRXL (@etroxel)
Lora Teagarden – L² Design, LLC (@L2DesignLLC)
Seasons of Summer
Jes Stafford – MODwelling (@modarchitect)
The Dog Days of Summer
Eric T. Faulkner – Rock Talk (@wishingrockhome)
Summer — Architecture Imagery
Michele Grace Hottel – Michele Grace Hottel, Architect (@mghottel)
#Architalks 20 “summer” and architecture
Stephen Ramos – BUILDINGS ARE COOL (@sramos_BAC)
4 Secrets To Getting The Most Out Of Your Summer Internship
Brian Paletz – The Emerging Architect (@bpaletz)
Michael LaValley – Evolving Architect (@archivalley)
An Acrophobic Architect’s Illuminating Summer of Roofs
Sharon George – Architecture By George (@sharonraigeorge)
Glass in Architecture – Summer Wonders
Brinn Miracle – Architangent (@architangent)
4 Reasons Solar Power is a Hot Topic
Emily Grandstaff-Rice – Emily Grandstaff-Rice FAIA (@egrfaia)
Jarod Hall – di’velept (@divelept)
… and the livin’s easy
Drew Paul Bell – Drew Paul Bell (@DrewPaulBell)
Jeffrey A Pelletier – Board & Vellum (@boardandvellum)
Do I Need to Hire an Architect?
Samantha Raburn – The Aspiring Architect (@TheAspiringArch)
An Architectural Spark for your Summer
Kyu Young Kim – Palo Alto Design Studio (@sokokyu)
Summer in Seoul
Keith Palma – Architect’s Trace (@cogitatedesign)
Adam Denais – Defragging Architecture (@DefragArch)
5 Things to Make the Most of Your Summer
Jim Mehaffey – Yeoman Architect (@jamesmehaffey)
An Architect Summer