09 Feb 2009

Crazy Inquiry — Questions Architects Ask

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What do a reporter,  therapist and architect have in common? It’s not salary because reporters get paid by the word, therapists by the hour and architects by the grace of God. It’s not approach because reporters put you on the spot, therapists put you on the clock and architects put you on a pedestal. It’s not vocabulary because reporters write at fifth grade level, therapist dialog with $50 words and architects draw diagrams. It’s not curiosity because reporters want to know where you were and who you talked to, therapists want to know about your family and architects want to know it all.

If it’s not salary, approach or curiosity what is it? They each have jobs that grant them a license to ask deeply personal and often annoying questions.

In case you’re contemplating hiring an architect, be prepared for the questions an architect asks:

  • What is you favorite condiment and why?
  • Have you ever ordered pizza online? What toppings?
  • Which leg do you put in your pants first?
  • What’s the first thing you want to see when you wake up in the morning?
  • How many times do you flush the toilet?
  • What is your favorite fast food and why?
  • Describe your primping ritual.
  • What is your favorite childhood storybook?
  • Describe your go-to-work ritual.
  • Do you wear boxers, briefs, thong or commando, clasp in the front, clasp in the back or velcro?
  • Which side of the bed do you sleep on? Which side do you sleep on when you’re in trouble?
  • What is your favorite and least favorite color and why?
  • How long do you spend in the bathroom? Do you have enough fiber in your diet?
  • Do you read in the bathroom or before you go to bed?
  • What is you childhood pet’s name and the name of the street where you grew up?
  • What is your favorite and 25th favorite letter of the alphabet?
  • What is your partner’s most annoying habit?
  • How close or far away do you want to be to the kids?
  • Do you hear voices? Do you answer them?

Why would an architect ask such personal and obscure questions? The answer is to get to know you. When you hire an architect, you ask a stranger to help you with one of the most important decisions you will make — designing your new home. You have the advantage because you know everything about how you live and why you live that way. Before your architect designs he will investigate the way you live and the things you like because he/she wants your house to complement your life.

It may sound hokie, but when your architect asks probing and sometimes offensive questions satisfy his/her curiosity even if you have to make stuff up just like you do with the reporter and therapist.

About the Author

Your Architect is Eric Faulkner -- an architect licensed in Texas & Oklahoma with 29 years experience in design, construction observation and life.