Photo’s #frommydesk

February 19, 2014 — 18 Comments

What it’s like to be and work with an architect” … that’s the unofficial tagline for – my little experiment I started just over 4 years ago. I chose those ten words off the top of my head because I thought they got right to the point of what you might find “content-wise” here on this site. Part of the process I go through when choosing what I am going to write about is generally influenced by what I happen to be doing at that moment. There isn’t an editorial calendar and I don’t plan ahead (but you probably could tell that). There is a goal to make my job as an architect more transparent in an effort to help people understand what it is that I actually do … how do I spend my day?

One way that I accomplish this is by using the social media platform “Instagram” to illustrate certain moments of my day – which can range from what I feel is quite exciting to mind-numbingly boring … sort of like talking to a structural engineer at a cocktail party. [shudder]

Texas Society of Architects on Instagram

One of the extra-curricular activities I spend my time on is working with the Texas Society of Architects (TxA) – the state level component of the American Institute of Architects – as their Chair of Digital Communications. [Hmmmm … wonder how I go that job?] At any rate, one of the activities we are about to kick off is on Instagram, my favorite social media platform – particularly for architects. Let’s face it, architects take cool pictures, at least most of them do and if you are an architect, you should play along with us.

Here’s how it works:

Step 1: Take a picture from your desk – it can be of your desk, a view from your desk, a thing from your desk, etc.

Step 2: Post that picture to your Instagram account. If you don’t have one, take the plunge with me here and sign up. There’s going to be all sorts of cool things we are going to do this year.

Step 3: Add the hashtags #frommydesk and #TexasArchitects  If you don’t know, adding a # in front of a word instantly makes that word searchable. This means you can click on any word that has a hashtag in front of it and all the pictures that have that hashtag will come up for viewing. Depending on the level of participation, we might even curate some of the pictures into an article on the Texas Society of Architects website.

Step 4: Follow txarchitects on Instagram (you can follow me as well if you aren’t already). Just so you know, there will probably be prizes at some point.


For fun, I thought I would look back at a block of photos that I’ve posted to my Instagram feed that would have worked well with the #frommydesk hashtag. These photos are in chronological order starting December 1st, 2011 and include all sorts of things. I also think the word “desk” can be somewhat loosely defined … sometimes it’s my desk at the office, sometimes at the house, a concrete slab on a job site – there’s even a bar tabletop included in this series.

Bob Borson Instagram Dec 1 2011December 1st, 2011
good times – not taking calls – deadline approaching – music playing


Bob Borson Instagram Feb 9 2012February 9th, 2012
poor Cubebot … wrong place, wrong time


Bob Borson Instagram May 13 2012May 13th, 2012
“This is what I’m doing … what are you doing?”


Bob Borson Instagram June 5 2012June 5th, 2011
“this is my “magazines to read later” pile… I’m starting to worry about my desk collapsing”


Bob Borson Instagram June 7 2012June 7th, 2012
“I don’t remember taking a class that taught this when I was in architecture school”


Bob Borson Instagram June 13 2012June 13th, 2012
“moved a drawing set from my desk and these pens fell out from the pages” #ridiculous


Bob Borson Instagram Oct 18 2012October 18th, 2012
“so what’s the architects preferred consumption sequence with these M&M’s?”


Bob Borson Instagram Oct 26 2012October 26th, 2012
“This is what my office did for lunch” #beer and napkin #sketches


Bob Borson Instagram Oct 31 2012October 31st, 2012
“the moon is looking good from my desk” #architect #startingearly


Bob Borson Instagram March 28 2013March 28th, 2013
“Commercial Pre-Construction meeting this morning and I brought a pink cup” #really


Bob Borson Instagram May 1 2013May 1st, 2013
“a little job site math … all you need is a fat pen and some concrete” #construction


Bob Borson Instagram Aug 10 2013August 10th, 2013
“concept assembly sketch for a modern house I will feature on LoaA” #vegetativeroof


Bob Borson Instagram Aug 23 2013August 23rd, 2013
“and so it begins … #design #sketch #architect” #architecture


Bob Borson Instagram Sept 5 2013September 5th, 2013
“this morning’s version of BIM – #sketching is still faster for me, old habits die hard”


Bob Borson Instagram Oct 29 2013October 29th, 2013
“Research for a presentation … on “Awesomeness””


Bob Borson Instagram Nov 5 2013November 5th, 2013
“FYI – sketching with a black pen is always more fun than sketching with a red pen”


Bob Borson Instagram Nov 19 2013November 19th, 2013
“Quick sketch for Thursday’s annual “What to get an Architect for Christmas””


Bob Borson Instagram Nov 26 2013November 26th, 2013
“Down and dirty layout concept sketches for our new office”


Bob Borson Instagram Dec 5 2013December 5th, 2013
“Traveling and working … realized that I have a sofa doodle? on my project notes” #sketch


Bob Borson Instagram Jan 26 2014January 26th, 2014
“Typical Sunday afternoon – except this design sketch is for me” (photo by @mborson) #architecture #sketch #design #architect


I know there are a lot of Instagrammers out there, I hope you will participate in our hashtag event. Just remember to use the hashtags #frommydesk and #TexasArchitects (no spaces between words).

Writing this #frommydesk,

Bob AIA signature

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  • Dana Lutz

    I’ve always wanted to be an architect, I’d settle for a bit of your penmanship and artsy flair. Your instagram photos inspire me. You really have a magic eye….never in a million years would i have thought a photo of the parking lot would be so cool.

    • Thanks Dana, you are far to kind. My secret is quantity … I take a lot that you never see 🙂

  • Meshach Moyinoluwa

    Nice pictures, i might sign up to instagram as part of my online distractions because of this. But what if you aren’t a Texas Architect, and definitely not one.

    • anybody can play along – we’re friendly that way.

  • Kerry Hogue

    about the M&M’s. there are not enough of them to pick colors first. looks like they go at once. Chocolate is the most important food group, so get on with it.

    • I received a handful of comments on that image but I think you might be the first to suggest that you toss them all back at once.


  • Ted

    Too bad about Instagram. It always looks like the picture is taken with a dirty lens that has been cleaned with a thumb. Sort of.
    I just don’t “get” Instagram.

    • Yeah – I get the dirty lens comment. The more post-processing the image goes through, the rougher the image. Part of the allure of instagram is that it’s a “in the moment” photo application. All of my pictures are taken with my cell phone because the idea of using a proper camera, coming back and editing the image in photoshop and THEN publishing it seems to defeat the immediacy of the platform.

  • Alex Millatiner

    I love your drawings and your sketches so much, that I went out and bought Srarpie pens, in futile hope that it would somehow help me to draw such awsome drawings. but I guess there’s more to it…..still, love the Sharpie.

    • I try out other pens from time to time but always seem to come back to the Sharpie. One of these days I should write a post that shares my secret so everyone could sketch just like I do, it’s pretty simple.

      Thanks Alex, I appreciate the comment.

  • AlmostJane

    Really liked the little Santa sketch. Hey, you can draw! Do you sketch other non-architecture stuff? Do I see a secondary career [cartoonist?] in your future? PS – the other sketches were very nice too. Even though this non-architect didn’t understand a majority of them – LOL.

    • If there was a scale of 1 to 10 of people who could draw (leaving off the people who don’t try) I probably rank about a 2 or 3 (10 being the best). I just know how to sketch in a particular way and in very simplistic terms. If you want art (as opposed to artistic) I’m not your guy.

      All the same, thank you for the lovely compliment.

      • AlmostJane

        Eye of the beholder, I guess. But remember Charles Schulz produced an iconic comic strip for 50 years with drawings VERY similar to your little Santa. PS – he didn’t think he was particularly good either. :>)

  • Brian D. Meeks

    Wow…double wow. I love photography. You’re images are just fantastic.

    It makes sense that you’d have a good eye for photography, as design is your life, but still…wow…just wow.

    • Thanks Brian, you are too kind. I tell people all the time that I am a better photographer now as a result of all the practice I’ve put in since starting the blog. I imagine that with all things, practice makes a difference!

      • Brian D. Meeks

        I found that when I was taking photos everyday for my woodworking posts, I improved, too. When one has passions, excellence is unavoidable.

  • I can totally relate to the the “magazines to be read later” pile. There are never enough hours in the day to keep up with everything that is going on in this profession. Love the photo series. Thanks for sharing.

    • Hi Bradley – the only way I was able to reduce the size of that pile was to leave it where it was a move to a different office in a different company … where I am starting on a brand new giant pile.