Meet the mysterious creators of Architext, the webcomic that's all about the daily grind of architects.
Novedge: Tell us a bit about who you are and what you do?
JOKER: I’m a somewhat disgruntled architectural designer. I’ve finished my IDP, but have yet to take the AREs. I can’t say for sure whether or not I will, but I don’t see that happening in the near future.
MAVERICK: I’m a Registered Architect that has been with the same architectural firm for over ten years.
Novedge: How did you come up with the idea for Architexts?
JOKER: The idea for Architexts happened while we were complaining about work-related issues via email. Maverick works in a small firm, and I work in a big firm, yet it seemed like our complaints were always the same. Other friends of ours working in different firms had comparable complaints, regardless of the size or location of the firm. All of a sudden it just clicked. We commemorated the moment of the comic’s conception here.
MAVERICK: While our initial motivation was to create a comic complaining about architecture, it has actually evolved into more of a comical, yet accurate picture of the mundanities of working in an architectural firm. We’re not trying to disparage the profession, we just wanted others to know that their plights are not unique, and perhaps find comfort in that. Based on the feedback we have received, it’s clear that we are not alone.
Novedge: How do you divide the work between the two of you?
JOKER: There’s no set procedure, but generally, we both separately come up with comic concepts and decide in advance when a particular concept should be used. Some comic ideas are best for Mondays, others for Fridays, it all depends.
MAVERICK: Our process has certainly evolved over the three years we’ve been doing the comic. Sometimes we script out comics well in advance–we even have an archive of ideas and scripts we refer to occasionally. Other times they are scripted out as the comic is composed, virtually on the fly. We both review each comic and provide feedback. Sometimes when one of us starts creates a comic, the other will create an alternate version with a completely different ending, then we choose which one is best. There is usually a bit of both of us in each comic, and we often come up similar ideas.
Novedge: Who are the characters?
JOKER: The characters are amalgams of various people we’ve worked with over the years and currently work with. And of course, there is a bit of ourselves in each of them as well. We have two firm principals, a project manager, the production staff, bookkeeper and a receptionist. Every summer we introduce two summer interns.
MAVERICK: We each named one character after a real person we’ve each worked with. They were some of the first people to know what we were doing and helped get the initial word out. Other characters are named after literary characters or other people we know.
Novedge: Why did you choose this specific style for your webcomic?
JOKER: Since this is a comic about architecture, we felt it was important to make the comic feel as though it was CAD drawn. When the idea to have Le Corbusier’s Modulor Man be a character in the comic, we decided to have all the comics be done in silhouette.
MAVERICK: We initially considered doing the comics in AutoCAD. Though some scenes were generated using elevations from our own projects, using AutoCAD proved to be impractical overall. The silhouette look is still a nod towards the original idea of drawing the comics in CAD.
Novedge: You started this series in 2010. How much has changed for the two of you as far as your experience as architects?
MAVERICK: I was already taking the AREs when we started Architexts. I became a Registered Architect less than a year after we launched. While I’ve made other career advancements since then, inspiration for new comics never ceases. Even as I advance professionally, I still have experiences that lead to individual comics, or even a series of comics. Sadly, my salary hasn’t changed much, but that’s the life of an architect.
JOKER: Professionally, not much has changed. I did finish my IDP, but I haven’t decided when or if to take my exams. Doing Architexts has been the most rewarding part of practicing architecture though.
Novedge: You focus on the frustrating aspects of your profession. What are the parts you love and we don't get to see in the webcomic?
MAVERICK: I really enjoy those moments in the office when everyone is working together (sometimes pulled off of other jobs) to get a project done. It’s usually a high stress time for me, but I like the teamwork. Of course, being able to see a project I designed get finished is always a good feeling. It’s really great being able to take family and friends to see my projects.
JOKER: As an architectural designer, it’s always great to see something I’ve designed get built. It doesn’t happen often, as projects sometimes fizzle out, or someone above me takes something I’ve designed and redesigns it, so whenever I can point to a space or a building that I contributed to its design, and can actually pinpoint elements that are actually my own, it’s a good feeling.
Novedge: What's the best advice you've ever received?
JOKER: The best advice I would have received would have been to choose a different career. I didn’t get it in time. Of course, I’m sure if I had chosen a different career, there’d be a webcomic about that, too.
MAVERICK: To do a five year Bachelor of Architecture instead of a Bachelor of Science in Architecture. I got this advice three-and-a-half years into my four year Bachelor of Science degree, so I was quite stuck having to go get my Masters Degree before becoming licensed.
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