When I grow up, I want to be…

For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be an Architect. All the signs were there from early childhood.

In my preschool years I loved stacking wooden blocks, and this turned into a big love of Lego! I’d ask for Lego house sets for every birthday/Christmas and loved building them to the plans provided, then demolishing and rebuilding my own improved original designs! The other gift I longed for was a set of 72 Derwent pencils! I LOVED drawing, and even loved designing my own  house-plans as a child. In fact, my cherished Derwents and LEGO collection were so valued, they are about the only things from my childhood that I’ve kept, and have now passed onto my kids!

Carl Jung quote

“What did you do as a child that made the hours pass like minutes? Herein lies the key to your earthly pursuits.” Carl Jung (Shared on Facebook. Unable to find source of image)

As a child I would dream that one day we’d have a tree-house in our backyard… but my parents bought a shed saying it could be a ‘cubby house’ when really it just turned into bike & garden storage. I think I overcame this disappointment by building my own cubbies inside the house – by turning the couches upside down and covering them with blankets, and using the couch-cushions as doors. My brother or friends and I would spend hours in our lounge-room dwelling. We spent many summers camping at Eildon Weir at “The Pines” and together with our cousins and friends we’d build cubbies and forts in the Pine Plantation, using discarded broken folding camp chairs and ‘banana lounges’, old tarps, tree branches and whatever we could find… it was our own little world.

In a way, Architecture was also in my genes. Dad was a Graphic Artist/Graphic Designer. Mum was a draftsperson for civil engineering and land-surveying services. My grandfather was a Carpenter. When my parents decided to do a major renovation on our childhood home when I was about 5 years old, Dad designed it, Mum drew up the plans, and then my dad and grandfather built it themselves. I don’t remember that much about us living on a “construction site” in the old part of the house while the new part went up, but it all must have sunk into my subconscious to help inform who I was to become.

There was a time in primary school when I thought about a different career path. I must have been about 10, and I discovered I had a talent for plaiting my friends’ hair into elaborate french-braids. They would line up every lunchtime for me to knot their greasy-locks into glamorous plaits. The school-yard kudos was fine payment, but my fingers soon grew tired of the dexterity involved, and I quickly ditched the idea of hairdressing as my future vocation. It just wasn’t my calling.

During my teenage years, I loved re-arranging the furniture in my bedroom – to give it a whole new “look” and feel. I even convinced my folks to let me do the handywork with a brush and roller, and repaint the peachy-coloured walls a deep forest-green, and to buy some scalloped blinds for the window. I’d had a taste of Interior Design and I liked it! That was the path I was headed on, but the School Career’s Advisor kept trying to convince me to do Engineering as I excelled in Physics and Maths, as well as Graphic Communications (“they need more women in that field” she argued). I just couldn’t get excited about becoming an Engineer, and figured that Architecture would be the best of “both” worlds and more suited to me – the mix of both science and art – of right brain and left brain – of functionality/practicality and creativity/emotions.

“What is Architecture? Architecture brings together the arts, sciences, technology and environmental awareness. The profession of Architecture involves everything that influences the way in which the built environment is planned, designed, made, used and maintained.” Royal Australian Institute of Architects brochure

My diligence and strong work ethic during VCE paid off, and I was over the moon when I was accepted into the Bachelor of Planning & Design (Bachelor of Architecture) course at Melbourne University. I LOVED that the study of Architecture was much more than I’d anticipated – not only design, planning and building subjects, but also architectural history, architectural theory, urban studies, drawing skills and communications, structural design and physics, construction technology and materials, built environment science and services,  architectural practice and construction law, environmental design & sustainability, and more.

“One of the great beauties of architecture is that each time, it is like life starting all over again.” Architect Renzo Piano

Its now been over a decade since I graduated with honours from my Bachelor of Architecture degree. I love being an Architect, and love that I am always learning more about the different facets of Architecture , as it is such an all encompassing profession. However I also recently learnt from some amazing creative women about the notion of being a “multi-passionate” which really resonated with me. I’ve realised that being an Architect doesn’t define who I am, and neither does being a mother, I am also much more, and interested in so much more in the world. I love buildings, and I love my family and my friends, but I also LOVE food and cooking, AND trees and nature, music and dancing, travel, photography, art and craft, writing and teaching, textiles and clothing-design, sustainability and the environment, meeting new people, healthy-living, self-improvement, (…plus more…) and I love learning from others and being inspired by all the beauty and creativity in the world…

Saw this gem on the Women in Business Facebook page http://www.womeninbusiness.com.au

Saw this gem shared on the “Women in Business” Facebook page

So if I combine all these elements of my life together that I am passionate about, they absolutely help to inform and inspire my Architecture, which do I believe to be my earthly pursuit… and if I ever change my mind, I can always become a hair-stylist!

Talina xo

What did you want to be when you ‘grew up’? Have you found your earthly pursuit? What are you passionate about? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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8 thoughts on “When I grow up, I want to be…

  1. Susan Nethercote

    What a really great way to get to know you more Talina! That would have taken at least three weeks of coffees (interupted) by toddlers to to get through. And you will need to add writing to your list of talents ;-)

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    1. talinaedwards Post author

      Thanks Sus! Yes I forgot to mention ‘writing’ in my interests (I’m definitely not “talented” in all those areas!)
      This post makes up for the 3weeks we’ve missed then! ;o) Look forward to our next cuppa soon x

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  2. CAITLIN McGrath

    Talina, you are a natural writer n the questions you pose are so timely for me right now. I’m in the process of reevaluating what I am doing for money and for the world too. Being at the BHB conference n being stirred into action has rippled though my life. I wanted to be a singer n actor n a writer tho somewhere along the line that morphed into being an English teacher. Anyway I’m now starting to write n am still singing in my loungeroom n getting a website up n scaling back the teaching. I understand how fulfilling architecture must be for you but am glad to hear the whole range of passions you have…I feel disappointed now when I get asked to choose just one! Love your blog n see you are boldly daring. Go you!
    X c

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    1. talinaedwards Post author

      Hi Caitlin! So lovely to hear from a BHB alumni! A good friend of mine is in a similar situation to you – but she teaches drama at secondary school which she LOVES so I think that helps her balance her creative energies, and does her gigs in the evenings & on weekends. Her partner is a teacher & muso too, and they have a 5yo son too. Good luck with finding the right balance for you! x

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  3. Samara Greenwood

    Wow, you could re-title this.. ‘5 signs you are meant to be an architect’. I know I could tick yes to..lego obsession, building cubbies, re-decorating my room, talent for maths/science + art/design, people suggesting I do engineering (I even did one semester before transferring!).. argh, we must have been twins in another life. Love it x

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    1. talinaedwards Post author

      Hi Sam! Thanks for reading & your comment! We do have a lot in common don’t we! So glad we got to experience BHB together – am sure it’s a sign we’re meant to stay in touch! x

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  4. talinaedwards Post author

    I’ve just had a childhood flashback!
    There’s another sign you’re meant to be an architect… I completely forgot how much I loved playing with my doll’s house as a child! It was just one of those basic wooden ones (I think maybe even my pop built it?) with 4 rooms – 2 upstairs and 2 downstairs, and a little wooden staircase, flat roof, no windows or doors, open to the front. I LOVED rearranging the little furniture and imagining what the family of dolls were up to, how they were living in this space. I think I’d forgotten because my boys haven’t got a dolls’ house – the closest thing would be a wooden pirate-ship with little wooden pirate-dolls that my 5yo enjoys tying up to the mast with the sail-ropes. They haven’t really shown an interest in this yet, but I’m all for gender equality so maybe i’ll help them design their own dollhouse that we can make from cardboard (sounds like fun for me too!)… maybe a safe haven for the pirates? Talina x

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  5. Pingback: Happy 1st Birthday to our blog! | Talina Edwards Architecture: elemental design

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