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Life of an Architect podcast episode 65, The Hypothetical Show

Since this is the final episode of the year AND the 2020 Life of an Architect podcast season, there is no better way to end the year than to dedicate an entire episode to hypothetical questions … so welcome to the Hypothetical Show!

The end of the year is almost always this odd mixed bag of working and not-working as obligations are both pushed off until the first of the year by some folks while others see this as a time associated with getting things done before the start of a new year. I for one will be working over this entire period but that doesn’t mean that I am unavailable for some shenanigans over lunch, (most likely on December 23rd since the office will be closed on the 24th and the 25th).

Because this is time is now bifurcated into those out of the office, and those working against deadlines, Andrew Hawkins and I decided that we would take a break from our typical architectural musing and give ourselves a bit of a break and dedicate the final show to simply answering those silly questions that conclude every one of our podcasts. We have three for your consideration as we present “The Hypothetical Show.”

For the first question, I enlisted the help of Lane Acree and Jason Hanson – two people from my office at BOKA Powell that I engage with most frequently. My normal co-host Andrew Hawkins was infected with the coronavirus during the time when we typically record these final episodes so I had to go looking for some temporary replacements … and these two fit that bill perfectly.

It is not all that uncommon that the three of us will communicate professionally throughout the day, although it’s almost guaranteed that the longer the conversation goes, the more likely things will take a turn for something slightly less professional. The picture above on the left is pretty self-explanatory… I made it and sent it to both Jason and Lane for approval in today’s post.

In the picture on the right, Lane had taken my photo and had green-screened my mouth and superimposed it on his Teams chat (I obviously don’t have a brown beard hair on my chin). While I thought I had the last laugh exposing the magical evening Lane and Jason had together at prom, Lane retaliated and sent this image (it’s really in your best interest not to look at it).

Hypothetical [3:18 mark]
Since Jason and Lane are capable of silliness, I decided to through at them the silliest of all the hypothetical questions I had in my arsenal. They did not disappoint in their responses.

"You are paid $30,000 for each consecutive month that you go without bathing yourself in any manner. That means no baths, no showers, you can’t brush your teeth … absolutely no actions that involve wiping filth off your body … would you do this, and for how long?"

I didn’t realize that this would end up being as amusing as it was, but things definitely took a turn when I pointed out that there were “other considerations” to this question that they might not realize.

For the Second Hypothetical question, my boss and previous Life of an Architect conspirator Andrew Bennett rejoins the show. Andrew would probably admit this to you in person but he is probably one of the most enthusiastic consumers of these hypothetical questions so it seemed like a good idea to have him join the show. The first show Andrew was on episode 34: Let’s Get Physical when we discussed the value of physical models and their diminishing role in modern-day architectural offices. In that episode, his hypothetical question involved him being attacked by a chimpanzee in an alleyway.

Andrew decided to provide his own hypothetical question this time around …

Hypothetical [30:00 mark]
"Your company has elected to work completely from home for the next 5 years and are going to relocate you to your choice of the following: You can live in the most idyllic setting imaginable – whatever that means to you … but you have to live in a tent – OR – you can live in a mansion with all the requisite trappings of a large glamorous house but you will be placed in what you would think of as an extremely undesirable location. You will have all the things you need to perform the duties associated with your job … so which one do you choose?"

This is your basic location versus quality of life question and Andrew Bennett and I seem to be on vastly different pages. One of us went for the amazing location but had to live in a tent with zero of life’s pleasantries (like running water, refrigeration, or power) while the other person opted to answer this question correctly.

Since I was looking for silly pictures to put in for each of these hypothetical questions, I decided to use the image Andrew Hawkins and I made in response to a hypothetical question we asked in Episode 51: Style over Substance which was a great episode and most likely my favorite hypothetical question of this 2020 season. If you haven’t heard it, I highly recommend taking 12 minutes out of your day a listen to the circumstance that demanded that Andrew and I dress up as 18th Century Gentlemen.

Hypothetical [54:05 mark]
Andrew Hawkins finally comes out of recovery and is able to join the episode to close out the 2020 season. It only seemed fitting that he also provides the hypothetical question as well.

"You are a witness in a high profile criminal trial and your testimony is vital to the outcome of that trial. The authorities have not sure that you are in eminent danger but are recommending that you enter the Witness Protection Program. Would you agree to do that? What if it requires your entire immediate family to enter the WPP?"

I will confess that if it was acceptable to answer “I wouldn’t testify” then this would have been a much shorter answer. Are you willing to give up everything you’ve ever worked for and become a pet-store clerk somewhere in the Dakota’s? While we all think we would do the right thing when the time comes, the reality might actually look a lot different.

So this draws the 2020 Life of an Architect podcast to a close. I am grateful that you joined us today for The Hypothetical show, but I am even more grateful that you continue to allow me this platform to share what I know about being an architect with so many of you. This year has been a rough one for so many reasons, and so like many of you, I am ready to turn the page and start a new chapter. In the meantime, let me know if you have any questions or if I can help you in any way (that is reasonable – I can send money to only so many Nigerian Princes).