We always remember our firsts.

Your first kiss. Your first heartbreak. Your first car. Your first apartment. Your life is full of firsts and each one is significant in some way because it represents a particular milestone in your life – a time and place in your life that changed everything. Your first kiss like a lightning bolt of electricity. Your first car the ultimate symbol of freedom on your way to adulthood. We hold on to these moments in our minds eye and replay them over and over until they may even become an almost mythical tale of triumph or sorrow, of victory or defeat. For an Architect one of the biggest milestones is your first project. But when I sat down to write this post I was struggling to bring to mind my first project. The one that “started it all”.

To be truthful I’ve had a lot of first projects. I’ve been slowly working towards launching my own firm nearly since I graduated from college. I’ve started three different “firms” in the last 12 years trying to find my place in the architectural community. At the start of each of those “firms” there was a “first” project. There were also the “first” projects that I worked on in each of the 6 architectural firms that I have been a part of as an intern and project manager. How could I possibly choose just one? And more importantly where would I find images of any of those projects?! And so, in thinking all of this over as I prepared to come up with a brilliant new blog post, I came to an interesting conclusion and one that reminded me of something I was told by a boss and a good friend not long ago. He told me “the two most important projects for any architect are: the one that you just finished and the one you haven’t gotten yet.”  And he’s right – my first project is not nearly as important or interesting as my NEXT project.

Each project I work on is a brand new opportunity. But it is an opportunity built upon the challenges and successes of the project that came before it. If I’m doing my job properly then the project I just finished is my best one yet. The next project will take its place when finished, and so on. To be an architect is a journey, not a destination. I’m not trying to look back and relive the glory days. I’m looking forward towards the horizon and to those opportunities that haven’t come yet. My glory days have yet to come.

Architalks is a monthly blog post hosted by Life of an Architect and features architects from all over the country discussing a singular topic. I hope you’ll read the other points of view represented here.


Bob Borson – Life of An Architect (@bobborson)
My First Project: The Best Project Ever Designed That Wasn’t

Marica McKeel – Studio MM (@ArchitectMM)
My “First Project”

Jeff Echols – Architect Of The Internet (@Jeff_Echols)
My First Project – Again

Mark R. LePage – Entrepreneur Architect (@EntreArchitect)
Our First Architecture Project [#ArchiTalks]

Lora Teagarden – L² Design, LLC (@L2DesignLLC)
#ArchiTalks: My first project

Eric T. Faulkner – Rock Talk (@wishingrockhome)
The First One — A Tale of Two Projects

Rosa Sheng – Equity by Design (@EquityxDesign)
Why every project is my “First”

Michele Grace Hottel – Michele Grace Hottel, Architect (@mghottel)
“My First Project”

Michael Riscica – Young Architect (@YoungArchitxPDX)
The Early Years of My Architecture Career – My Role

brady ernst – Soapbox Architect (@bradyernstAIA)
I Hate Decks

Eric Wittman – intern[life] (@rico_w)
[first] project [worst] crit

Emily Grandstaff-Rice – Emily Grandstaff-Rice AIA (@egraia)
Project Me

Daniel Beck – The Architect’s Checklist (@archchecklist)
Fake it ’til you make it

Jarod Hall – di’velept (@divelept)
Define First

Anthony Richardson – That Architecture Student (@thatarchstudent)
my first project

Drew Paul Bell – Drew Paul Bell (@DrewPaulBell)
My First Project

Jeffrey A Pelletier – Board & Vellum (@boardandvellum)
Top ten tips when faced with a challenging Architectural project

Aaron Bowman – Product & Process (@PP_Podcast)
Community 101

Samantha Raburn – The Aspiring Architect (@TheAspiringArch)
6 Major Differences between my 1st School Project & my 1st Real Project

Kyu Young Kim – Palo Alto Design Studio (@sokokyu)
My First Project – The Contemporary Cottage

Nisha Kandiah – TCDS (@SKRIBBLES_INC)
The Question of Beginning



Lisa Saldivar