Have you ever noticed perplexing habits when traveling with an architect? This post should make sense of traveling architects in their natural habitat… inside and around architecture.

Architectural travel etiquette makes perfect sense to those in the profession but little sense to those on the outside. Here are 10 odd traveling habits explained…


When traveling with an architect your itineraries are going to look a bit different!

Chances are the traveling architect’s itinerary, or #ArchiList, consists of a couple pages listing architectural hotspots: buildings, parks, and plazas they want to visit (or in some cases revisit for the 10th time). You may be inclined towards thinking, “there is no way this person is going to do everything we are supposed to do and all this.”

With a will, there is always a way! This almighty list is actually a great habit; an architect can plan the most efficient trip possible when everything is organized this way.

Source ilmarz.com. The Farnsworth House is on my #Archilist of buildings to visit!



The photo reel of a traveling architect is slightly different as well from other tourists…

Expect hundreds of pictures taken per day, with about 100-300 pictures dedicated per architectural hotspot visited. To the untrained eye, many of these pictures will even look identical. However, to an architect, each photograph holds slightly different information: lighting quality, a new view in the distance, a shift at how people are moving through space.


While most pictures taken may be solely of architecture, there will almost always be a couple of pictures with the traveling architect and his/ her favorite architecture…

Courtesy of my friend Garrett Armentor. Taken on the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge. Dallas, TX.

Courtesy of my friend Garrett Armentor. Taken on the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge. Dallas, TX.


Have you ever received strange requests to visit out of the way buildings with a traveling architect?

You want to go to the touristy areas, but the architect wants to go all the way across town in seemingly the middle of nowhere. There may have to be some compromise here…

Architects spend their painstakingly long education learning about buildings that shaped their profession; any chance to see these buildings will be taken with ardor. Architects want to find out first-hand what is so magnificent about these places!


Beware; some architectural sites may be so special to an architect that he or she may want to visit it solo. Try not to get offended; it may be a place of inspiration that the traveling architect wants to take in with all the senses and little outside distraction. For me this would have to be the Cistercian Abbey Church (below).

Source ArchDaily. This is the Cistercian Abbey Church in Irving Texas. Out of the way from a downtown trip but so worth it! This is a place I would want to visit solo.


You may want to go next door to Starbucks and grab a coffee; this could take a while…

When the traveling architect reaches a destination you can expect the sketchbook to immediately come out with a pencil to follow. Sketching is a tool of which we record memories, dissect information in front of us, and grow our ideas from.

Personally, whenever I sketch a scene I remember every detail going on during that moment beyond the sketch: the smell in the air, the sound of people around me, and the emotion I was feeling at the time.


The traveling architect will touch walls in significant buildings for little conscious reason. Sure, we don’t touch concrete all the time but this building has Tadao-Ando-specked-extremely-smooth-concrete which makes it absolutely okay.

Source Wikipedia  You may step back for a second and give a look like this whenever you witness the traveling architect touching walls in an almost sensual way…



One can expect to hear random outbursts of “WOW” and “AMAZING“, shortly followed by: “Look at this opening/ view/ detail/ lighting/ corner/ _insert_term_you_don’t_know_here_!”

If you don’t get it, do not fret! The traveling architect will attempt to explain the newly discovered micro-marvel (usually accompanied with hand gestures) often to no avail…


Well of course architects notice the art…

However, in museums the traveling architect is focusing attention on the form of the building that houses the art. What do I mean? For those outside of the profession, natural light is preferred for the most accurate colors for artwork, and direct sunlight can damage artwork. With this in mind, the traveling architect is studying the lighting design strategies the architecture firm used to protect the art!


Once I found myself sitting in the auditorium of the Renzo Piano Pavilion at the Kimble Art Museum with a small group of architects I was traveling with. Unbeknownst to us, the auditorium was closed and off limits. The door was unlocked so we figured it was okay!

I figure it is ok to break the rules in the name of architecture. I say this because the excuse that comes out is usually,

“It’s okay! I’m an architect!”


This post is part of the ArchiTalks series in which Bob Borson of Life of an Architect selects a theme and a group of us (architects who also blog) all post on the same day and promote each other’s blogs. This month’s theme is “Architecture and…”  Being open to interpretation I chose to focus on strange travel habits. To read how others interpreted the theme please click the links below…


Marica McKeel – Studio MM (@ArchitectMM)
Architecture and Photography

Jeff Echols – Architect Of The Internet (@Jeff_Echols)
Architecture and a Future Without Architects

Lee Calisti, AIA – Think Architect (@LeeCalisti)
architecture and __

Lora Teagarden – L² Design, LLC (@L2DesignLLC)
Architecture and Travel

Collier Ward – One More Story (@BuildingContent)
Architecture and Storytelling

Jes Stafford – MODwelling (@modarchitect)
Architecture and Gaming

Eric T. Faulkner – Rock Talk (@wishingrockhome)
architecture and m&ms

Rosa Sheng – EquitybyDesign [EQxD] (@EquityxDesign)
Architecture And the Era of Connection

Michele Grace Hottel – Michele Grace Hottel, Architect (@mghottel)
#ArchiTalks 18: architecture and… the bigger picture

Meghana Joshi – IRA Consultants, LLC (@MeghanaIRA)
Architalks 18: Architecture and Mathematics

Amy Kalar – ArchiMom (@AmyKalar)
Architalks 18: Architecture and … Parenting

Michael Riscica – Young Architect (@YoungArchitxPDX)
Architecture and Yoga

brady ernst – Soapbox Architect (@bradyernstAIA)
Architecture and Ego

Michael LaValley – Evolving Architect (@archivalley)
Architecture and Ego / The Architect’s Unique Struggle with ‘Good’ Design

Sharon George – Architecture By George (@sharonraigeorge)
Architecture and Kids

Emily Grandstaff-Rice – Emily Grandstaff-Rice FAIA (@egrfaia)
Architecture and More

Jarod Hall – di’velept (@divelept)
Architecture and the Myth of the Master Builder

Greg Croft – Sage Leaf Group (@croft_gregory)
Architecture and Real Estate

Jeffrey A Pelletier – Board & Vellum (@boardandvellum)
Architecture and Interior Design

Samantha Raburn – The Aspiring Architect (@TheAspiringArch)
Architecture and Wrestling

Rusty Long – Rusty Long, Architect (@rustylong)
Architecture and Children

Keith Palma – Architect’s Trace (@cogitatedesign)
Architecture + Memories

Adam Denais – Defragging Architecture (@DefragArch)
[#ArchiTalks 18] Architecture and Strange Travel Etiquette

Jim Mehaffey – Yeoman Architect (@jamesmehaffey)
Architecture and…my Generation.