This months #architalks series asks the question, “What is a citizen architect?” I recently read an article published a few years ago about what it means to be an American. Taking the words and changing them to relate directly to architecture is informative and compelling process. To paraphrase… To me what it means to be an architects stems from a rich history of architecture. Architects take on both the study of ancient and new buildings, communities, and people. We seek to understand how a variety of elements such as sun light, wind, temperature, etc., affect people. How they both historically and in the modern times have come to term with those various elements, and thus how we can best negotiate those elements along with the specific goals that our clients bring to us. Being an architect is more than just a title or job. It’s more a way of life. Nearly every architect I know lives and breathes architecture. It is truly a calling for most. As architects we seek to understand our clients, we try to place ourselves in their shoes so that in turn we may design something to accommodate their specific needs.

Something that I have noticed is that architects seek to be involved in communities, organizations, and politics for this same purpose. For the purpose of seeking to improve the lives around them. At times architects may come off overbearing in their determination to make a place better. This is what a citizen architect is to me. Someone who is seeking to make their community around them better.

As I dug further I decided it would be wise to also look up the definitions. The dictionary tells me that being a citizen is to be part of a country or state, owing allegiance to that state and thereby also being entitled to a form of protection by that state. Architecture of course is a profession. To be an architect one engages in designing buildings, and ultimately any type of environment which should also engage society with some sort of aesthetic.

So if citizen architect was in the dictionary it would read something like this:


  • 1-The duty of any member of the architecture profession to be actively engaged in society while adding value to that society in regards to the environment that their works create.

Don’t worry, I’m not planning on writing a dictionary anytime soon.

This post is part of the Architalks blog series. The goal of architalks is to showcase the variety of people in the profession. Check out all of the links below to see how lots of other people interpreted the topic Live/Work.

Bob Borson – Life of An Architect (@bobborson)
Citizen Architect … Seems Redundant

Matthew Stanfield – FiELD9: architecture (@FiELD9arch)
Citizen Architect

Marica McKeel – Studio MM (@ArchitectMM)
Good Citizen Architect

Jeff Echols – Architect Of The Internet (@Jeff_Echols)
What Does it Mean to be a Citizen Architect?

Lee Calisti, AIA – Think Architect (@LeeCalisti)
small town citizen architect

Lora Teagarden – L² Design, LLC (@L2DesignLLC)
#ArchiTalks: The everyday citizen architect

Jeremiah Russell, AIA – ROGUE Architecture (@rogue_architect)
Citizen Architect: #architalks

Jes Stafford – Modus Operandi Design (@modarchitect)
Architect as Citizen

Eric T. Faulkner – Rock Talk (@wishingrockhome)
My Hero – Citizen Architect

Rosa Sheng – Equity by Design (@EquityxDesign)
We are the Champions – Citizen Architects

Michele Grace Hottel – Michele Grace Hottel, Architect (@mghottel)

Meghana Joshi – IRA Consultants, LLC (@MeghanaIRA)
Meet Jane Doe, Citizen Architect

Amy Kalar – ArchiMom (@AmyKalar)
Architalks #13: How Can I Be But Just What I Am?

Stephen Ramos – BUILDINGS ARE COOL (@sramos_BAC)
Help with South Carolina’s Recovery Efforts

brady ernst – Soapbox Architect (@bradyernstAIA)
Senior Citizen, Architect

Brian Paletz – The Emerging Architect (@bpaletz)
Citizen Architect

Tara Imani – Tara Imani Designs, LLC (@Parthenon1)
Citizen Starchitect’ is not an Oxymoron

Jonathan Brown – Proto-Architecture (@mondo_tiki_man)
Citizen Architect – Form out of Time

Eric Wittman – intern[life] (@rico_w)
[cake decorating] to [citizen architect]

Sharon George – Architecture By George (@sharonraigeorge)
Citizen Architect #ArchiTalks

Emily Grandstaff-Rice – Emily Grandstaff-Rice AIA (@egraia)
Citizen of Architecture

Daniel Beck – The Architect’s Checklist (@archchecklist)
Protecting the Client – 3 Ways to be a Citizen Architect

Jarod Hall – di’velept (@divelept)
Citizen Developer??

Courtney Casburn Brett – Casburn Brett (@CasburnBrett)
“Citizen Architect” + Four Other Practice Models Changing Architecture

Jeffrey A Pelletier – Board & Vellum (@boardandvellum)
How Architects Can Be Model Citizens

Aaron Bowman – Product & Process (@PP_Podcast)
Citizen Architect: The Last Responder

Samantha Raburn – The Aspiring Architect (@TheAspiringArch)
Inspiring a Citizen Architect