A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from March 10, 2013
“Architecture is a great profession, but a horrible business”

"Architecture is a great profession and a horrible business” was said in a 2009 transcript titled “The truth about being an architect,” but it’s not known where the saying originated. “Most architects have heard the old cliché that architecture is a great profession, but a lousy business” was cited in print in 2011.

Medicine has a similar saying. “It has been truly said that medicine is a great profession, but a very poor business” was cited in print in 1905; “Medicine is a great profession but a horrible business” was cited in print in 2012.


Google Books
Transactions of the Medical Association of the State of Alabama
By Medical Association of the State of Alabama
Montgomery, AL: Brown Printing Company
1905
Pg. 181:
It has been truly said that medicine is a great profession, but a very poor business: and I say that there is nothing more true than this in so far as the conscientious physician is concerned, whose foremost thought is for the welfare of his patient, and who accepts his fee as a means of providing for his family, and making him more efficient in the knowledge which relieves pain and cures disease.

Transcript Vids
The truth about being an architect
Uploaded by howtoarchitect on 06.07.2009
Transcript:
A friend said to me the other day. Architecture is a great profession and a horrible business. At times, I tend to agree. Whats great about the profession is what architecture is in history, what it aspires to be in the future and most of all what the training & doing exposes one to in life. Architecture is about many things. As Ive said before its about making form, story, music, and inspirationÉ its also about illuminating ones life with philosophy, sociology, psychology, material science, engineering, mathematics, history, construction, and in the end making something out of nothing. These are the reasons architecture is a great profession that can enrich your life.

DNM
June 23, 2011
Joining the AI…ehhh
(...)
Most architects have heard the old cliché that architecture is a great profession, but a lousy business. It’s true for too many architects, but it is a lousy business because it is a WEAK profession. Our talent to think creatively as individuals undermines the imperative to act collectively as an industry. We’re bad lemmings.

Twitter
rigo almaguer
‏@_WRKSHP_
Architecture is a great profession… and a horrible business
4:47 PM - Aug 15, 2011

REAE 5317
Architect Profession
Posted 12th August 2012 by ryan reeh
The architect is always conflicted, misunderstood, or unappreciated in my experience.  The difference between many successful architects and those that can’t cut it is a sense of humor and perspective.  Many go to school to learn and study architecture, few actually practice architecture for a living.  It is true that to become a successful, practicing architect (one that can stamp a design), it takes much sacrifice and hard work.  Long hours, demanding clients, impossible deadlines, and modest money is the life for most architects.  It’s a discipline that requires a dedication and passion for design, but unfortunately it also requires a business perspective that is only learned through experience.  Architects are not taught to design within a budget while in school, but in the real world the folks paying the bills will dictate the design.  So there is a little truth to the statement that architecture is a great profession, but horrible business.

North Carolina Medical Society
Major Physician Survey Confirms Alarming Trends
October 5th, 2012 by Elaine Ellis Stone
(...)
COMMENTS
RLW Says:
October 6th, 2012 at 9:11 am
Unfortunately, I concur. I seriously investigated a career change but realized I still like “medicine” for the opportunity to try to help people. Medicine is a great profession but a horrible business. The third parties that control medicine are too far removed from how those decisions adversely impact the doctor patient interaction. Each year our system moves further towards medical business in opposition to medical care.

Urbanist
Nathan Lee Colkitt Architect, Colkitt & Co, http://nathanleecolkitt.com/
Live: Little Italy • Work: Little Italy • How Long: 2006
Projects: Puma Outlets, Puma SoHo, Sushilicious, Dlush, 900 F Street, Candela’s, Challenged Athletes Foundation
(...) (The date of this interview is not given—ed.)
What struggles did you face when starting your own business?
There is an old saying “architecture is a great profession and a lousy business.” It’s true. We always struggled with the balancing act of running a creative practice as a business. I stopped trying to design buildings and started designing experiences. Now we focus solely on innovations to impact the client’s life. Life and business then got a whole lot more exciting.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityWork/Businesses • Sunday, March 10, 2013 • Permalink