Desk of an Architect

My office is a disaster!

Okay. Maybe that’s a little dramatic.

Or a lot.

However, I was looking around the other day and wondering how I managed to cover every flat surface available in the last five months. Even after having moved in and then rearranging the space a couple of months later, the clutter has taken over. Two desks, two bookcases, and a dresser have become hosts to a collection of paper, loose change, iPhone accessories, pens, pencils, etc.

But then I came across @AIADallasFrom the Desk of an Architect series and suddenly I didn’t feel so bad.

Like most people, I think architects tend to fill the space they have, whether that’s a small desk, a cubicle, or even the large workstations at my last firm. The eight-foot table that served as one of three work surfaces on any given day had a couple of drawing sets, a scattering of pens, and project folders lined up across the top. And maybe a catalog here or there.

I also like to believe that being messy is just part of being creative. Thankfully I’m not the only one. And I get a little suspicious when I see an office that is tidy. At my first job, a visit from an important client would require an all-hands-on-deck cleaning. Desks would get cleared. Drawings would be stuffed into file cabinets. Even the owner’s cubicle would receive a thorough revamp. Granted, you couldn’t get into his private office after that. All those message slips had to go somewhere.

As a client, I would have been wondering what exactly was happening in an office where I didn’t see any paper. Was anyone actually working?

My podcast partner Matthew described it once as organized chaos. Hearing that and knowing that I wasn’t the only one who kept stacks of paper on their desk was somewhat comforting. And I remember people coming to my desk asking for something and knowing exactly which stack it was in. Messy? Yes. Unorganized? Not in the least.

Working for home now I’ll need to make sure paper doesn’t start to filter out into the rest of the house. Although I have already used the kitchen island to review drawings more than once.

But if work starts spreading to other rooms and James complains, I can just tell him I’m an architect. I’m not messy.

I’m creative.

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