Looking up in Chicago

#ilookup…But Why?

Originally posted by Lora Teagarden, AIA, on her blog

I look up. Seriously. All the time.

I can’t remember a time in my life when I haven’t been looking up. Buildings have always intrigued me. We would travel somewhere as a family when I was young, and I would lag behind, mesmerized by the architecture of the place. Now as an adult, I still do the same thing. I recently became a statistic of young adults braving the world of online dating; yes, it’s as bad as you’ve heard. Point being, the fact that #ilookup secured a prominent spot in my “profile” and I didn’t even realize it until the other day.

“I love traveling to new places, experiencing the culture and immersing myself into the local life as much as possible. An architect by trade, I need someone who will patiently smile while I gawk at buildings.”

I come with a disclaimer, albeit one I’m very proud of: I’m an architect. #ilookup. It’s what we do, right? We look up. That makes AIA National’s new #ilookup campaign not that surprising of a choice. The bigger question we need to answer out of this is WHY.

Why do we stand around like a sea of frozen dorks, peering up at the sky, looking at buildings so intently that we sometimes draw the attention of building security or local police?


When #ilookup, I’m learning from the greats before me. I’m studying, questioning, and immersing myself in the building design – from the macro to micro – to figure out what led the architect to design the way he/she did. From Michelangelo to Mies to Miller Hull, they all have knowledge beyond measure. While some of the greats are no longer with us, we are lucky because they left their genius behind to learn from in the form of their buildings…all we have to do is look up. We can learn from their why, to better inform ours. If the architect isn’t available to have a dialogue, it’s okay. The building creates the dialogue. It embodies the why.

At #AIACon14 last year, my first ever AIA convention, I mentioned in my recap of the experience:

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