Architects vs. Hippies

January 31, 2011 — 41 Comments

In what could clearly be billed as a Battle Royal, I present Architects vs. Hippies in a death cage match pitting two classic stereotypes. Who will win? Will there even be a winner?


Personal Grooming – Architect

  • generally accepted as well-groomed.
  • personal aroma is typically a mixture of stale coffee with the slightly detectable scent of Aveda hair care products.
  • hair generally worn in gender specific styles appropriate for the current timeline.

Personal Grooming – Hippie

  • what grooming?
  • At the very core of most hippies is an absolute disdain for man-made products that smell nice, with most hippies preferring to create their own personal aroma brand featuring: musky body odor, the natural earthy goodness of dirt, patchouli, licorice and “herb”.
  • hair generally worn in gender confusing styles but almost always worn au naturel with “tangly” or “clumpy” style being the most common.

Advantage …… Architect

Economic Status – Architect

  • Well educated so you would think that an enviable economic status would be guaranteed – but you would be wrong
  • If unemployed, monetary status is desperate due to lack of incoming funds combined with debts including sizable student loans, mortgage payments, and Starbucks addiction

Economic Status – Hippie

  • Education status undetermined (really could go either way – not that it matters), therefore economic status can fluctuate widely with main determining factors including whether or not the Grateful Dead is touring.
  • Typically has no debt due to lifestyle patterns including; crashing at someone else’s place, not having to buy clothing because they will wear the same outfit they found behind the port-o-let at “the show”, and have meager aspirations for material items

Advantage …… Hippie

Oratory Skills – Architect

  • able to stand up in front of a group of people and articulate ethereal concepts and matters of opinion with relative ease
  • uses multi-sylabic words of such specificity that only other architects can actually understand their meaning

Oratory Skills – Hippie

  • recreational activities have rendered vocabulary into a series of endless run-on sentences that use the phrase “hey man” at several points within the same sentence
  • extremely adept at using the word “dude” as a noun, adverb, adjective, as a question, and to make declarative statements

Advantage …… Architect

The Environment – Architect

  • talks about being carbon neutral while theorizing on sustainable strategies and techniques
  • will try to talk the client out of cutting down trees on the project site despite the peril of losing project and client
  • experiences routine and convenient moments of sustainable “black holes” and continues to buy products and services from large box retailers

The Environment – Hippie

  • actually lives carbon neutral
  • re-purposes products over and over (and over) again which removes them from the manufacturing-to-landfill life-cycle
  • does not support “The Man” in any capacity and therefore does not buy products or services from said Man

Advantage …… Hippie

 Spatial Recognition – Architect

  • spent considerable amount of higher education to develop highly tuned sense of scale, proportion and order
  • has the ability to imagine high level concepts into real-time and scale

Spatial Recognition – Hippie

  • can actually see people’s aura – and that is high level spatial recognition
  • not only understands alternate states of time, order, and dimension but can spend an extraordinary amount of time explaining them
  • has the ability to see things that normal people can’t see – like double rainbows and super-awesome glittery aura glowing type things. And Unicorns.

Advantage …… Hippie

Most Beloved – Architect

  • secretly everyone thinks they want to be an architect and will happily tell you all about it at parties
  • Architects are commonly used as the protagonist in movies due to their squeaky clean image and imagined modern lifestyle

Most Beloved – Hippie

  • nobody really wants to become a hippie because they look like they smell like homemade peanut butter and free love from a stranger (typically another hippie)
  • very popular Halloween costume – but the idea of free love is better than the actual practice of free love
  • Hippies are also very popular at parties – particularly if other hippies are attending and if they are “holding” *wink*

Advantage …… Architect

Fashion Sense  – Architect

  • generally play it safe and only wear black (grey is occasionally acceptable if use is limited to laundry day and if they will not actually be seen in public). Bold colors are frowned upon by the establishment
  • eyewear too often consists of heavy load bearing frames … which will also be black

Fashion Sense – Hippie

  • bold and uninhibited use of color – the hippie is rarely threatened by the idea of mixing primary, secondary, and tertiary colors in the same outfit despite the common retinal burn suffered by others
  • Accessories are assembled and worn “higgledy-piggledy” style and are typically home-crafted and made-from found objects like fish bones, electrical wiring, broken glass and bottle caps

 Advantage …… Architect

So if I tally everything up the winner is (paddummmmmmmmmmmm ..crash!) THE ARCHITECT!!!! at a score of 4 to 3. Was there ever any doubt who would win? Duh – I do write this blog and I am an architect. I expect to get hammered (hah, get it? hammered? some jokes just write themselves) by hippies and hippie lovers everywhere, but in fairness, I need to point out that the score was close, disappointingly close actually. To think of all of the crap I went through to become an architect when compared to the unbelievable ease in becoming a hippie …. I mean, do you even have to do anything to be a hippie? They seem to (de)evolve by actually not doing anything.  Damn hippies … I think they might have actually won this Battle Royal by not winning. Gawd dangit. Hippies are some complicated mofo’s




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  • Lee Cox

    Right on target, Bob, except in the sartorial department: I’ve been an architect for 25 years and still find myself making fun (inwardly) of colleagues who are DIB’s (pronounced “dibbies”)- short for Dressed In Black. I typically wear anything but black, except for my belt & shoes. (Probably because my undergraduate major was graphic design: I’m too much in love with color & pattern.)

    • enteecee

      Architect here, and because of my approach and style of practice, I most often look like a gay construction worker.
      It’s all boots, jeans, and workshirts- occasionally slightly worn or otherwise damaged… but they’re unusually well selected.

      I also chuckle under my breath a bit at the DIBs.

  • Van Bennett

    Too funny!

  • Every architect I know says “dude” and “hey man” too.

  • Kate

    What if you are an architect de-evolving into a hippie?  I recently left my 10yr+ job (with a conservative, very established firm) to move into the woods of NJ to work on my very own fixer-upper.  My husband thinks the hippie side is going to win… I’m not so sure; I still feel the architectural angst calling – “get a job! do some drawings…!”

    • enteecee

      I started my own practice focusing on providing good design to low-middle income homeowners. because the work is inherently more hands-on, I’ve developed a look I described above as “gay construction worker.”

      So four years after this post, if you’re still listening… which side won?

      • I think the hippies are winning …

        • enteecee

          One event that didn’t make your competition is that designs by architects gone hippy are almost universally more successful than designs by hippies gone architect.

          I’ve seen some scary attempts by the latter, but then, I may be biased.

          • it seems like the latter category would be very sparsely populated. Don’t most architects come directly out of the womb, while hippies take some time to develop?

          • enteecee

            Yeah… once you start smoking that much pot, there’s no way you’re making it through an architecture program.
            Though it might have made final critiques easier to bear.

  • Gretchen

    This made me laugh! But what happens if an architect falls for a hippie (or hippie-ish type)?

    • not sure I would describe Annie as a hippie … the dilemma Douglas faces is sleeping at home alone or hooking up with his neighbor who likes to sit out on her front porch naked.

      I predict Douglas and Annie are going to get together and she is going to change the ways he sees things (just a guess…)

      • I just saw your reply Mr. Borson. Your assessment of Douglas’s dilemma is insightful! As is your prediction on the outcome. 😉 There IS an end to the story. I’ll keep you posted. 

  • Joe

    Just discovered this site; quite interesting what people do. Well I am an Architect and older at that, so I was a Hippie for a time back in the early seventies after school. Long story short I had a lot of fun as a Hippie, not so much as an Architect, but being a Hippie wasn’t sustainable although I had long hair well into the eighties at least. Always wan’t to be both at the same time, maybe its not too late.

  • Haha! My best friend’s parents were hippies, and that made me love this post even more. Though, at the same time, from an architect’s standpoint, it does make one question one’s choice of career path . . .

    • Joe

      Just discovered this site; quite interesting what people do. Well I am an Architect and older at that, so I was a Hippie for a time back in the early seventies after school. Long story short I had a lot of fun as a Hippie, not so much as an Architect, but being a Hippie wasn’t sustainable although I had long hair well into the eighties at least. Always wan’t to be both at the same time, maybe its not too late.

  • Kim O

    Could you call yourself a beatnik? I have an anthropologist friend who claims to hate hippies, but has no problem with likening himself to a beatnik.

    • Jack Kerouac is credited with coining the phrase Beat Generation and when he tried to describe what that meant he said:

      “It is because I am Beat, that is, I believe in beatitude and that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son to it… Who knows, but that the universe is not one vast sea of compassion actually, the veritable holy honey, beneath all this show of personality and cruelty?”


      I’m a regular dude who has some philosophical hippie tendencies but that’s about as far as it goes. I could play my American Indian card and say I am the way I am not because of some counter-cultural ideals but because it’s programed into my DNA to not treat the planet like a massive toilet bowl.

      (that and I like to smell clean)

  • Kevin E

    Classic. But I just like to shower too much.

    • It all comes down to the shower … that seems about right

      • Lee Cox

        Christopher Isherwood reportedly said that the difference between civilization and barbarianism is the bathtub.

  • For the record, Ms Vegetarian Alexandra, “I make my own baked goods from scratch, like almond butter, and wave candle flames back and fort while signing ‘Kumbaya'” was a rebel as a teen and did wear some tie dye now and again And BB gun – you have got to get over your heeepee envy!

  • I wore a lot of patchouli oil in junior high, yet I have dark, heavy glasses. I never aspired at parties or during bouts of free love to become an architect, but I don’t have any tie-dye clothing. I have never flashed a peace sign nor flipped off my own head (or maybe you’re cleaning your ear). I’ve never experienced retinal burn, but I do support “The Kids.” So…does this make me a hippie or an architect? And I’d like to point out that David Mathias will happily do anything that involves free love.

    • Since you went into fitness and I know you are persnickety about your diet, you are undoubtedly a hippie. How can you not know this already? Here is the deciding question for you ….

      Have you ever had almond butter instead of peanut butter?

      (I was going to ask if you ever made yourself a candle before but I think we both know the answer to that already)

      • Uh oh. I’ve had almond butter & tahini butter. And maybe shea butter once or twice, but I just wasn’t paying attention. But I have no clothing in the fashion of “peasant.” So again, a dilemma. I never made myself a candle, but I did a few flame-outs! I know – I’ll invite JB over and we can play hippie. Then we’ll play architect. Then we’ll play Twister. Whoever smells worst at the end is the hippie. The other one can go sip an over-priced coffee somewhere.

        • and to think, I don’t even drink coffee so paying the man for a Starbuck’s is out of the question. Maybe I should go get some deodorant made from salt from the Dead Sea, maybe that will make my transformation complete.

          Does it mean anything that I am currently listening to Blue Oyster Cult?

      • Kathryn Kemp

        Don’t know you, you’re a friend of Alexandra Williams’, my friend. Now I don’t know you AND love you anyway! My father was an architect and is laughing from the sea and heaven right now at your clever article! He was AIA and practiced and taught all over the U.S., even in Texas! (Corpus Christi even!) James Ingraham Clark. Architects rock.

    • Did somebody say “free love?”

  • he! just imagine if we could find a hippie architect — that’s hippicect — and 7 for 7! (And I know but they have done a lot with genetic engineering lately.) with all due sincerity — lovely post happy you brought this into the world.

    • Thanks JB – you know, I think you have a little Hippie in you, am I right? You know who has some hippie going? @Alexandrafunfit – She might deny it be we actually know better don’t we?

      • I’d say I got a little hippie in me or so says the 10 years or so I tried to find myself. I do shower but admittedly love rainbows.

        • I love a good rainbow but have never taken the appropriate steps to see a double one.

    • Gary Dorn

      I am a hippie, well I quietly call myself a professional hippee – that is I get paid to be earth care and people care minded, then again I think all Architects ought to be hippee in their central core.
      As “Hippe” is not an overly accepted thang! – my occupation is Permaculture architect – whereby I design and help build “organic solar architecture and strawbale construction”.

      Its been in interesting journey for the past 20 years, when I started fresh out of Architecture school.

      I’ll go back to playing my Didjeridoo now, whilst I think about how to document this roof garden family room addition thats my current project.

      Peace be with you

  • Hey man! Which finger are you holding up in the poster, man? I don’t come here to be insulted by some establishment architect dude. What was I saying, man? I don’t know either. Wow, look at the rainbow, man. What? It’s night time? Hey man, your negativity is really bringing me down.

    • You are so detail oriented it’s insane. I throw all these little details in and you always catch them. I think maybe you missed your true calling but then again, it’s why your book is so good.

      Since I don’t have as much time for blogging these days I had one shot at getting that picture. It looks like I’m pointing at my head but I am actually giving my version of the peace sign to my “opponent” – Grandpa Hippie.

      Looking forward to the day we get to meet – cheers!

      • Bob – thanks for the drive-by plug of my book. I always appreciate a mention. As for attention to detail, I’ve always been an incredible bore, I mean I’ve always notices such things.

        Honestly, I admire that you take time to do new photography for your blog. I almost always draw from my archives. Anyway, this was a great post.

        I’d love to meet someday. Why don’t you come by when you’re in Spain. We’re only a couple of countries away. I’ll take you to the Corbu house – that’ll make Jody’s head explode.

  • Ebarchdesign

    I think this article was biased. After all, think about how much better off the world would be with thousands and thousands upon millions of hippies instead of creative bankers for AIG or Dick Cheney. There would be no more global warming, no war, and good times all around. Your prejudice against these peace sign flipping folks is elitist snobbery which makes YOU part of the establishment. 😉

    • I am sooooooo part of the establishment it’s actually my middle name. In my defense (that’s a standard opening line for members of the establishment by the way) this is about stereotypes, not fact – something that I mention in sentence #1.

      The actual idea for this post was partially born out of my creative insanity but also because I think it’s funny how similar architects and hippies actually are …. Other than the stink part. Oops, there I go again 🙂

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  • Good one Bob!!!!

  • Good one Bob!!!!