11 Fragen an...

S. Timothy (Tim) Barber (NC USA)

Tim Barber
Tim Barber

Mr. Barber, before we begin with the interview, please introduce yourself in 3-4 sentences briefly.
_Timothy Barber [tb]: Average Joe, average architect.  Extremely fortunate that I get to do what I enjoy.  Been in business for myself since 1987.  I do mostly commercial (office and retail), but have done everything from a twenty run dog kennel off a master bedroom to shopping centers, and churches.

Question 1: What was your first job after graduating?
_tb: Working for the Architectural / Engineering firm of Hakan / Corley in Chapel Hill, NC

Question 2: Why should clients in any case work together with an architect?
_tb: You can’t beat experience.  Architects are trained and spend their entire lives working with spaces and environments and can use that experience to help clients get better results in the planning and designing of their spaces.

Question 3: How would you describe your architectural style?
_tb: Practical, typical, conservative, but functional, efficient with a touch of character.

Question 4: Which book or film has impressed you in the last time?
_tb: Walking the Bible: A Journey by Land Through the Five Books of Moses

Question 5: Who are your role models and why?
_tb: My father – As a self employed manufacturer’s representative, he taught me to be confident, knowledgeable, and how to serve a client.  My 5th year roommate Bennie Ellis – for showing me the energy and effort to never give up and to always move forward to achieve your dreams.

Question 6: Is the client king or should he be guided to his luck by an architect?
_tb: The client is king, but should be guided and advised by the architect. The client should always make the final decision, right or wrong, as it is their project.

Question 7: Which subject in course of studies best prepared you for your profession?
_tb: There was no one course.  There were two major things I took away from college.  One is how to look at things differently.  I am not sure which courses or events transitioned the way I thought, but it is obvious to me reflecting about it, that architects look at situation differently from most people.  We explore all possibilities, from every angle to come up with a solution.  The other item is endurance.  The long hours of design studio still influence my life even at age 53.  Architecture is not an 8 to 5 job. When you get involved with a project you take whatever time is required to get it done.  Endurance is an important factor in being an architect.

Question 8: From Paul Valéry comes the term „architecture is music made in stone.“ What referees to the question, what music you’re currently happy to hear?
_tb: For background, serious thinking music typically classical.  I’ve been listening to a lot of Handel lately.  For production work usually country music such as Rascal Flatts.

Question 9: Which building would you like to design and why?
_tb: I design mostly commercial buildings, but I would like to design a spatially and energy efficient house.  I think you can be more personal and intimate with a residence.

Question 10: Architecture is … ?
_tb: …Spatial Organization
…An environment
… A building

And finally, question 11: What question would you like to ask and whom?
_tb: Any architectural professor, as I did ask this question while I was in Cowgill Hall at Virginia Tech of Professor Donald R. Sunshine, but never got a satisfactory answer.
Why do the professor’s compare the architectural students to Walter Gropious, Frank Lloyd Wright, Mies Van der Rohe, when it is Joe Average, local architect that we will be competing against when we get out of school.  The answer I received was „That is a good question.“.  Do not misunderstand my statement to think I don’t think we shouldn’t be taught about the best, but don’t judge us against them.  Its like criticizing a high school basketball player because he doesn’t play like Michael Jordan.

I am glad to have you as an non-german speaking architect on my magazine. So I take the opportunity to ask you a few more questions interesting for me and others. How to become an architect in your North Carolina, USA?
_tb: In the US you must get a „professional degree“ which is 5 years or more.  A 5 year degree is a „Bachelor of Architecture“, the next level would be a „Masters of Architecture“.  There are colleges in the US that offer 4 year degrees, but they are called different names by the different colleges. After college you must work a 3 year internship with an architect or architectural firm and during that time you must complete the IDP, intern architect development program, which guides what you study and learn to help you get an all encompassing understanding of the architectural environment.  Once that is completed you can sit for the architectural exam, which is a nationwide program.

In germany you have to be a member of the architectural chamber to call yourself an architect. Is there any comparable in the USA?
_tb: No, you can be a licensed architect without joining any organization.  Many join the AIA (American Institute of Architects) and NCARB (the National Council for Architectural Registration Boards), but both are optional.  The AIA is a national organization to pool the architectural community together to better serve all architects and give them one voice, and to help promote architectural education.  NCARB is a central point for storing and distributing one’s credentials to help get licensed in other states.  We are licensed by state, but we can get reciprocity in other states without having to take additional tests or exams.

What about the current market situation in your place?
_tb: Business is very slow.

Are there any special architectual conditions in North Carolina, USA?
_tb: I think the economy has affected all architects around the world.  Business is slow, but I do believe it is bottoming out and that a slow, but upward growth is in the near future.

Thank you Mr Barber

S. Timothy Barber
3622 Lyckan Parkway
Durham, NC 27707, USA

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