Why I Quit Architecture

Why I Quit Architecture:

For seven years, I was an architectural apprentice and eventually a fully-qualified architect. I loved the challenge of designing, drawing, and building structures that were both structurally sound and aesthetically pleasing. As I moved in and out of projects, I worked with many people – from professional engineers to bricklayers and finishers. I often delighted in seeing my designs come to life.

But, gradually, the love I had when I first entered the industry started to fade. I found myself increasingly tired, tired of the battles with clients, and tired of feeling like my work was unappreciated. I felt overwhelmed, exhausted, and defeated.

I noticed a steady decline in the importance of design and aesthetics in my projects. Instead, the emphasis was placed on cost and time efficiency, reducing the need for creativity and open discussion. It seemed that, no matter how hard I worked, I was still expected to do more with less.

The environment became increasingly tense, as working conditions worsened and workloads increased. I felt that I was losing my creative abilities, as I was given less and less opportunity to express my ideas.

There were also relentless changes in regulations and codes that had to be followed, making the process of designing, drawing, and building more complicated and difficult. The requirement of certification for many aspects of the job, along with time restraints, began to take away from the enjoyment I had once found from architecture.

Eventually, I realised that if I didn’t make a change I would eventually burn out. I made the difficult decision to quit, and pursue a career in a field that truly inspired me and gave me the opportunity to be creative. I haven’t looked back since.

Lack of Autonomy

Since my transition out of architecture, I often reflect back on why I chose to pursue that career path in the first place. Autonomy was what I was looking for, but in the end it was the one thing I could never obtain with architecture. The lack of autonomy was something that became more and more apparent as my career progressed.

In the early stages of my career I had an idealized view of architecture, believing that I would be able to have the freedom and independence to work on the projects that I felt passionate about. However, as time went on I encountered more and more roadblocks when it came to taking full control of a project. I was continually restricted by planning regulations, budgets, and timelines.

At the end of the day, without the autonomy to make decisions about my work, my passion for architecture began to dwindle. Ultimately, this led me to the conclusion that architecture wasn’t the profession for me.

I realized that with other career paths I could still use my planning and drawing skills while utilizing my creative side, with more freedom and control than I ever had in architecture. This was something that I felt was essential to my self-fulfillment, so I ultimately decided to bid architecture goodbye.

The Importance of Inspiration

When I made the decision to leave architecture I knew that I needed to find something that would inspire me and bring back my passion for design. After months of searching, I eventually stumbled upon a career path that filled me with enthusiasm. I had discovered a career in graphic design, where I could blend my skills in architecture with the modern-day trends in illustration and web design.

Throughout the process of deciding to move out of architecture, the importance of staying inspired became increasingly apparent to me. I knew it was essential for me to feel passionate in whatever I did, and with graphic design I felt I could do just that.

Being able to use technology to create visuals with both style and substance was something that I knew I could get on board with. I now use the skills I gained in architecture and blend them with my newfound knowledge of graphic design to create amazing projects that I feel proud of.

Finding the Balance

There are many different aspects of a career in architecture that can be both incredibly fulfilling and incredibly demanding. As an architect, it was up to me to find a balance between being creative and organized, inspiring and successful.

The truth is, architecture is a profession that requires a lot of dedication and hard work. But, it also requires a level of creativity and intuition that can sometimes be challenging to maintain. Moreover, many of the challenges that I faced when working in architecture could not be solved by work ethic and dedication alone, something I had to come to terms with before deciding to move on.

This experience taught me the invaluable lesson that it is possible to outgrow a passion, especially when it is no longer the right fit for your lifestyle. This can be a difficult realization to accept, but it also means that there is always an opportunity to find a new career path that suits you better.

Realizing That Change is Necessary

My experience in architecture gave me a new perspective on change and its importance. I realized that change is often disruptive and challenging but it is also the key to growth and self-improvement.

In retrospect, I am grateful for my time as an architect, but I was also smart enough to recognise when it was time for me to make a change. That doesn’t make me a quitter as much as it makes me open to growth and a better opportunity.

When it comes to change, it is important to be honest with yourself and take the necessary steps to make sure you can still progress in your chosen career path. At the end of the day, my experience in architecture taught me that it is ok to move onto something bigger and better, no matter how intimidating that change may be.

Living a More Fulfilling Life

My journey in and out of architecture has been eventful to say the least. As I continue my journey in a new profession, I feel more inspired and fulfilled than ever before.

In hindsight, I’m sure I could have stayed in my profession, to a certain point. But, now that I’ve made the switch, I can confidently say that my life is much more enjoyable. The sense of autonomy I feel in graphic design is much greater than I ever felt in architecture, and I’m truly grateful for the experience.

At the end of the day, I’m glad I chose to leave architecture and pursue a career that fuels my passion. I now feel I’m living a more fulfilling life, both personally and professionally.

Thinking Positively About Moving On

My experience as an architect was a great learning experience. It taught me the importance of taking risks, dealing with adversity, and most of all staying positive in the face of difficulty. Along the way, I encountered many challenges, but I always kept in mind my ultimate goal of making a successful career transition.

When people choose to move on from a profession, it isn’t always a sign of defeat. Instead, it can be an indication of the positive courage to take control of your life, to accept that a change of career is necessary for you to reach your personal and professional goals.

For me, quitting architecture was the right decision and something I will always be proud of. I know that my decision and newfound enthusiasm has made me a better person, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Making the Personal and Professional Transition

Making the switch from architecture to graphic design was not an easy process. I faced many uncertainties along the way, especially when it came to making the financial transition.

Luckily, I had a supportive network of professionals who offered me advice and help when I needed it the most. They encouraged me to stay positive and assured me that if I worked hard, I could make the transition without experiencing any financial loss.

I made sure to take every opportunity I could to stay networked within my profession, as this is a great way to help secure employment during a time of transition. I also kept up with the latest trends and technology in the field, which allowed me to hit the ground running when it came to finding new projects.

The most important thing I did throughout the process was to keep my motivation and enthusiasm for the newfound career path alive. I made sure to focus on my goals, both personal and professional, to keep myself motivated and inspired.


Obviously, there is no single right or wrong approach when it comes to quitting a profession. Every situation is unique and should be addressed accordingly. What is important is to consider all the pros and cons of doing so and make the best decision for you.

In my case, I am thankful that I recognised that I was no longer finding fulfilment in architecture and took the risk to make a positive change in my life. Ultimately, I know that, no matter what, I will never regret my decision to move on.

Anita Johnson is an award-winning author and editor with over 15 years of experience in the fields of architecture, design, and urbanism. She has contributed articles and reviews to a variety of print and online publications on topics related to culture, art, architecture, and design from the late 19th century to the present day. Johnson's deep interest in these topics has informed both her writing and curatorial practice as she seeks to connect readers to the built environment around them.

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