Labour for love

How might we as architects participate in creating better future, if we learn to labour for the love of architecture?


Some architects see their work as a calling rather than a job. Labour for love of architecture may be requested by those who see the calling as a normal and standard mental set-up of an architect. Studies have shown that the sense of architecture as a calling may be inherited from mentors at university. If creating great projects is a life priority, then it doesn’t matter how much time is spent at work, whether one is adequately compensated for it or how one is doing health-wise. The habit of working on something important out of love is often abused and personal boundaries violated.


  1. “I enjoy my job immensely, otherwise I wouldn’t spend so much time here for ‘this amount’ of money.”
  2. “Recently graduated architects are usually not familiar with how to systematically carry out their own work etc. That’s why they are often jacks of all trades for investors, they do not always get paid, etc. University taught me destructive work habits and gave me completely naive ideas about how practice actually works.”

Peggy Deamer

Work, 2013

“Architecture is not a career. It is a calling!” How did we get here? [...] My first answer is – we donʼt believe we do work. We go to the office, we get a paycheck, but as a profession architecture produces designs, neither mere products nor services. We know we are producing an object (indeed, a big one) but we donʼt like to think that we produce a “commodity.” We compare ourselves to doctors and lawyers, but believe our work is too creative and culturally significant to be properly filed under “service sector.” Consequently, we fail to conceptualize our work as work.


My second premise is – we have a pathetic notion of design that isolates it from work. Architects design, constructors build; we do art, they do work. This division, which is both conceptual and contractual, keeps architecture from not only achieving the above described financial and monetary rewards, but also social relevance and personal satisfaction.”


Cambridge Dictionary

Calling: a strong wish to do a job, usually one that is socially valuable. An activity that is a person’s most important job, especially one in which the person has an unusually strong interest and ability. Job: The regular work that a person does to earn money. Work: An activity, such as a job, that a person uses physical or mental effort to do, usually for money. Also a place where a person goes specially to do their job.