Photo Credit: ABC Television


Maddie Hayes: Wipe that stupid grin off your face.
David Addison: This is the smartest grin I know.

Moonlighting, or outside professional practice, is prohibited by the firm for which I work.  It has never been a problem for me, as I never felt like I didn’t have enough to do in my day job.  That is not to say that I have not been asked for help by friends or family.  The closest thing I have done to moonlighting is writing about my experiences as an architect, but that is a far cry from providing architectural services.

There are certain liabilities that comes with working for friends or family (not to mention the risk of losing such friends…).  I am not insured for such activities – at least that is an excuse I can use that won’t hurt someone’s feelings.  I don’t really think I want to work for friends or family.  To me, that sounds about as good an idea as loaning your dead-beat uncle some cash.  It probably won’t end well, and it will make Thanksgiving dinner really awkward if you expected that money back.

Cue television flashback harp music:

My parents were set to build a house in New Mexico a few years after I graduated from college.  I had only seen the land in pictures, and it wasn’t really pretty.  It was rocks, sand and scrub.  My step father had this grand idea that he wanted a log cabin.  In the desert.  No amount of logic from a kid in his mid-twenties would sway him.  “Where are you gonna get the trees, Al?”  “How’s that log cabin gonna do in 120 degree heat? – I don’t care if it is a dry heat, that’s actually worse!”

This is either a view from the Viking Spacecraft or a view of my mother’s lawn.  (Photo credit:  NASA)
So with all of the diplomacy of a newly minted architect, I gently suggested that my parents start by talking with some local home builders.  This was a climate that I was unfamiliar with.  I was not familiar with the appropriate building materials or the prevailing HVAC systems for that area.  All of this was essentially true, but it was not information that I could not have gathered had I really wanted to.  I knew that a parent was not likely to yield to the sensibilities of their former ward.  Let some experience builder tell them they are crazy.  I walked away.
This is an actual view of my mother’s home. The amount of green is deceptive from space.  (Photo Credit:  Google Earth)

So they were convinced.  Log cabins were not the way to go.  Guess what?  Adobe!  Well, stucco anyway, was the exterior choice they made.  Flat roof.  Spanish colonial sensibilities.  All this they thought they came up with themselves.  Not from the kid with a minor in architectural history.  Not from the kid who was working on a job in Phoenix around that time.

Oh well, they got their house, and it was appropriate to the climate and context.  I am sure Thanksgiving dinner will still be awkward, just for different reasons.

This post is part of the ArchiTalks series (led by Bob Borson of Life of an Architect ) where 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 led by Michael Riscica and is “Moonlighting”.  A lot of other talented writers who also are architects are listed below and are worth checking out:

Bob Borson – Life of An Architect (@bobborson)
Should Architects Moonlight?

Jeff Echols – Architect Of The Internet (@Jeff_Echols)
The Ironic Blasphemy of Moonlighting and what Architects are Missing Out On

Lee Calisti, AIA – Think Architect (@LeeCalisti)
moonlighting more than an 80s sitcom

Lora Teagarden – L² Design, LLC (@L2DesignLLC)
Moon(lighting) changes with the seasons

Collier Ward – One More Story (@BuildingContent)

Jeremiah Russell, AIA – ROGUE Architecture (@rogue_architect)
hustle and grind: #architalks

Michael Riscica AIA – Young Architect (@YoungArchitxPDX)
Moonlighting for Young Architects

Stephen Ramos – BUILDINGS ARE COOL (@BuildingsRCool)
Architects do it All Night Long

Brian Paletz – The Emerging Architect (@bpaletz)
Starlight, moonlight – tick tock

Jeffrey Pelletier – Board & Vellum (@boardandvellum)
Is Moonlighting Worth It? Probably Not, But We All Try.

Kyu Young Kim – J&K Atelier (@sokokyu)
Dancing in the Moonlight

Keith Palma – Architect’s Trace (@cogitatedesign)
The Howling

Tim Ung – Journey of an Architect (@timothy_ung)
An Alternative to Moonlighting as a Young Architect

Mark Stephens – Mark Stephens Architects (@architectmark)
Architalks 28 Moonlighting

Gabriela Baierle-Atwood – Gabriela Baierle-Atwood (@gabrielabaierle)
On Moonlighting

Ilaria Marani – Creative Aptitude (@creaptitude)
There is no moonlighting. It’s a jungle!

Jane Vorbrodt – Kuno Architecture (@janevorbrodt)
Crafted Moonlighting