Yeah, this one’s ranty. I waited too long to write. So much has happened. Agendas have changed, a zillion people in architectural fields have been laid off due to downsizing and restructuring—an unbelievable number of architectural firms have closed their doors in Chicago and the Chicago Department of Environment is going away entirely. For real. Yeah, it’s feeling a little apocalyptic these days.
I’ve considered everything from starting a brewery to going to law school, but the truth is, I’m a damned writer with a lot of debt and opinions. And I like to write about architecture and history and the environment at this point in my life. So here I am, feeling a little lonelier in Chicago these days as I watch almost all of my preservationist friends from grad school and beyond leaving this city for jobs in Los Angeles and D.C. The melancholic autumnal vibe is making me want to write poems about my favorite buildings decomposing into tortured faces.
Alas, let me sip my scalding herbal tea and calm myself down while looking at the trees swaying and the hoods flipping up outside this here café window. Things are changing like the season and, I hope, evolving to be more intelligent and livable. It remains to be seen where all of this restructuring will go. Perhaps a strange, unintended result will be the scattering of environmentalists and preservationists into seemingly unrelated fields where we can make changes to those disciplines based on our former lives in green/historic fields?
The truth of the matter is that we can’t go back at this point. I think (and rather hope) that we know too much now and have too much information to go back to the status quo in terms of energy and the impacts of demolition. And nobody would hire us anyway. Codes are forcing our fields to span multiple disciplines now and I think that’s a positive. Preservationists are finally catching up and even innovating out of necessity with technology like 3D laser documentation, phone apps, more comprehensive energy efficiency case studies, (hopefully smart) multi-cultural and multi-age outreach…there’s a general and sweeping restructuring of goals and huge changes in the green building world as well. These are good things. I’m not entirely sure how many of them translate to jobs for the non-tech savvy, but that just means that unless we’re able to retire (ha!), we all have to work harder to be more informed and less isolated which will only make our arguments and successes stronger in the end. Right?
I’ll be honest. I don’t even know where I fit into any of this. It’s a tough thing to be brimming with ideas and have no idea what to do with them, or how to make them happen. But I’m trying to just hang onto the idea that if I (we) just keep working and learning it will all be okay in the end.
Or, if you have some start up capital, call me and we can start a brewery with punny names and cute little historic buildings on the label.
Actually, what I really want are comments. Suggestions. Encouragement throughout this field that is genuine and not just lip service or Tony Robbins speak. Talk to me, people. Where are you working? What are you doing? Where are you finding opportunities? This blog has been viewed tens of thousands of times after three years of posting and I’d like nothing more than to hear from any and all of you about what is happening in your cities and with your jobs–the good, bad, and hideous. I’ll keep posting updates on policy and strategy and energy and all of it, but I want to hear more from the bottom on up. It’s important stuff.