Does an architect’s brain ever shut off?

I just spent three days at a conference in Denver, and I could probably draw you a fairly accurate layout of the spaces we used. Not that I want to. But as I was sitting there listening to speakers and even meeting with other architects, the architecture part of my brain was busy cataloging the room layout, ceiling, and lights. I could even sketch the patio space attached to that particular ballroom.

Not that any of that is my intention when I go somewhere. I’m there to focus on whatever I’m supposed to be doing. I just cannot seem to help myself!

A few weeks ago, I sat at my desk laying out a drawing sheet – or at least trying to layout a drawing sheet. After a full day of work, I couldn’t get this last little bit onto the paper.

Cut to the next morning, standing in the shower and click! I knew exactly what I needed to do. And even better, when I finally sat down with my laptop, what I imagined in the shower actually worked. Bonus!

My former partner used to keep a notepad next to her bed, as she was as likely to work out detail while she slept as when she was awake. She even from time to time would draw something in the fog on the shower glass. Whenever and wherever she could get the information out of her head.

My first thought was that this was just an architect trait. Until I spoke to a contractor recently who does the same thing, although he’s traded in his notepad for his phone. Best to be prepared for whenever inspiration strikes!

And I suspect I’ll be doing this until my last day on the planet. I just don’t know how to turn it off.

Which means the next time you see me, and I’m staring at a ceiling or a wall detail, give me a second or two. I’ll see if I can’t my brain to quiet down and pay a little attention to you too.

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