What makes an architect?

Often an architect will be equipped with both a calculated and creative mind. Her design solution is often the result of numerous iterations, each seeking the perfect balance of problems solved. The desired architect should be capable of setting design priorities  that push and pull each other until some sort of equilibrium is reached. He or she is equal parts methodical and imaginative.

This recipe will walk you through the essential ingredients and steps required to nurture the unwavering and dedicated architect. This recipe may be tweaked to taste.


  • 1 fully ripened raison d’être (set aside ¼ of the raison)
  • 4 heaps raw curiosity
  • 1 scoop confidence
  • 1 gallon patience (use a top shelf brand if available)
  • one pinch of talent and learned skill
  • 2 scoops empathy
  • 2 scoops cognitive ability, may substitute radial thinking skills if desired **
  • 2 ½ heaps strong communication skills
  • 1 heap self reflection
  • 3 dashes dedication or commitment, either is suitable**
  • Passion* as much as possible; you can never have too much.

*you can add passion to ANYTHING, and it will be better, so feel free to go crazy here. The more passion the better.

Suggested Toppings: humor, gusto, inspiration, accountability, empowerment, charisma


  1. Education

Combine ¾ of the raison d’être, curiosity, confidence, and patience together in one large melting pot, perhaps a state college or private university. (Best results will occur in Georgia Tech) Allow the mix to boil for 4 – 6 years. Add a touch of talent and skill; expect these ingredients to enhance with time. 

  1. Experience

A healthy mix of professional and personal experience are suggested. Turn the heat down and slowly incorporate experience and empathy.

Continue to cook low and slow for  3,740 hours while gathering AXP experience. During this process, I like to add in 50 hours of volunteer work and a stint or two of living abroad, as I find they deliver a more well-rounded result.

As the experience stews, gradually add cognitive ability, communication skills, and self-reflection.

  1. Examination

In this step, your architect is going to need some dedication. The examination step is laborious, and the architect may become discouraged. If this happens, stir in the remaining ¼ raison d’être.
More important than dedication here, is passion. An ingredient reserved for the best architects. Passion, like curiosity, will keep your architect young. Add in as much as is readily available. If you do not have enough on hand, repeat steps 1 and 2, allowing self-reflection and curiosity to substitute for any lack of passion.

Let contents stew for an additional 2-5 years while the almost-architect is examined. Some will be ready to complete exams earlier than others.

A graduate architecture student at Georgia Tech, Anna Kiningham spent her summer as an architectural intern with CCCA, where she rolled up her sleeves with our business development, marketing and project teams. As Anna wrapped up her internship last week, she developed a recipe we could all use in our proverbial kitchens.