15 Dec 2011
Let’s talk stereotypes here for a minute.
What do you think of when I say “Architect”?
Something like this…
A clean shaven man in all black? Thick rimmed glasses? Pretentious pose?
We could substitute the clothes…leave or take the glasses…but the clean shaven part…well, that image doesn’t go away.
Which brings me to today’s topic: Beards and Architects.
If you have no interest in beard culture or beard jargon then I suggest you navigate away from this page now. But if you have any interest in learning how a beard could one day save your life… then please, read on. (Bob, taught me that….it’s called “The Hook”. It’s a great literary tool to use when you know your reader has no interest in what they’re reading but you need them to hang on for a few more paragraphs.)
Take a few seconds and try to create a mental picture of a bearded architect. Go ahead. Think…and don’t try and imagine Charles Darwin or Abraham Lincoln wearing a black turtleneck sketching up a skyscraper.
Ok, now that you’ve got a headache take some Tylenol and focus for a second.
Need a little help? Try Google searching “Beard + Architect”. What do you get? A whole lot of nothing.
Actually don’t Google search that because there are a few architecture firms with “Beard” in their firm name and they shouldn’t be getting any free press out of this post.
The truth of the matter is that architects don’t have beards, well, real beards anyway. I’m not talking about that crap you grew in studio because you hadn’t slept/showered/shaved in 5 days when you were in college. I’m talkin’ about an intentional “I’m sorry, we lost that new youth center project because the clients thought that homeless people work here” kind of beard.
My brief research came up with a few examples of bearded architect…
Look at this guy…
I assume that this was the style back then so Mr. Fothergill probably only had a beard out of peer pressure.
with some sort of an o’clock shadow.
Philip Johnson …
He grew some scruff towards the end of his career (a little creepy if you ask me).
Carlo Scarpa …
He had a very clear understanding of the coolness of bearding AND smoking…and sometimes, at the same time!
Sam Mockbee …
Now we’re getting somewhere. Finally a credible example of an architect with a beard. You can tell in his eyes that he has a plan and shaving is not part of it.
So what’s the problem with architects and their lack of beards? Is it the fact that architects are neat freaks and they don’t like having cookie crumbs stuck in their facial hair all day? (btw, that happened to me last week) Is it the fact that there isn’t an AutoCAD command to help grow/trim/array a beard? Do architects not want to dedicate the time to grow a beard? Do they have commitment issues? Or, is it a response to the way society expects professionals to appear?
Either way, I’m sick of it. It’s time to ditch the clean shaven look and move into a new era of respectfully bearded architects. I’m making a plea to all of the architects in the world (women can grow beards too) to challenge the status quo and live a little more beardier.
After you’ve decided that you want to join the movement realize that there may be some drawbacks to sporting a beard in your office. If you have an uptight boss you might not get that promotion you’ve been hoping for. You probably wont get that Christmas bonus you were banking on to help pay off that jet-ski/pool/Ferrari you were going to buy.
If you have some commitment issues I’ve included an instant beard kit that you can download and cut out to wear around the office. You know, to help you get a feel for things.
If any of your coworkers ask what your doing tell them that you’re part of a movement…a movement that is vital to reinventing the perception of how architects are viewed. They’ll probably look at you funny and take a break from going out to lunch with you for a few weeks.
Now, if your boss asks about it… you need to respond a little differently. Quickly turn the beard over to the white side and say…
“It’s a Santa beard! I’m just trying to spread some holiday cheer!”
…after all, you don’t want to miss out on that Christmas bonus this year.