My Favorite Place in the Wild

Thursday, April 30th, 2015

My favorite place in the entire world? This is a very tough question. Difficult because I have not yet traveled to many places in the world I hope to see. Also because there are so many places already that are tied to emotions and meaning in my life. So in order to answer this question of location, I opted to be a bit more generic in my response.  As an architect you may expect it to be some famous building or wonderful city. Those types of places are all definitely in my top 10. But for me there is really only one somewhat universal answer. And as I sit at my desk surrounded by things, I can look up and be somewhat taken away to my favorite place: nature. Nature is my happy place.

The view above my desk.

The view above my desk.

Above my desk and throughout my office are photos of natural elements. They are mostly trees due to my specific affinity for them as an architectural exemplar.  For me, nature is my favorite place. And I mean out in the middle of nowhere type locations. I like the solitude. The feeling of insignificance yet simultaneously the sense of connectedness.  You can realize the world goes on with our without you. But it is also very easy to see the impact that humans can have on the world we inhabit. Within the more untouched and wild landscapes of our planet is the place that I often time feel the most alive.

Solitude in the great outdoors.

Solitude in the great outdoors.

It has always been this way. I spent many days in my youth out exploring the woods, fields and other open spaces around my home and friends’ homes.  I did not fully realize this preference until my years living in Oregon. Frequent trips into the wilderness or to the rugged coastline seemed to have pulled my fondness into focus. I really enjoyed being out within the elements and somewhat alone in the world. It may be a direct reaction to my other, contradictory penchant for all things technological; because I do love technology. I am a bit of a geek in that way. So maybe there is some part of my inner being that craves some semblance of balance that it finds rejuvenation in the natural world.  This is quite the contradiction in my character. I would bet that not many who know me would presume my love of the great outdoors. And I would never consider myself an “outdoorsy” person. I like the comforts of a modern life and relish in them most days. But my soul always feels the need to be “out” at times. As plugged in as I prefer to be on any given day, the urge to ditch it all and go off-grid is usually pretty strong for me. I would totally go on one of those survival reality tv shows, but I feel that I would be very disappointed when I crashed out on like day 3. What do you mean there is no food?!??!!

Somewhere in the middle of nowhere.

Somewhere in the middle of nowhere.


A view form the top out into the vastness of my happiness.

A view form the top out into the vastness of my happiness.

Many of my bucket list type items revolve around nature. Climb Mt McKinley. Go diving with great whites. Trek the continental divide. See Patagonia. Just typing these adventures makes me long for some fresh air. I plan the getaways all the time in my mind. Some of them are quite extravagant in the man vs nature realm. But see my previous comments regarding reality tv. But I do get to take a yearly trip to southern Colorado which allows me to get a small fix of the natural world and also expose my children to these simpler pleasures of life. And maybe, just maybe, the simplicity is the real desire

Image 46-04

Simplicity in the natural world.


–Andrew G Hawkins

Author Line 2015


This is part of a Series created by Bob Borson (Life of an Architect) and consisting of a group of great Architectural Thinkers. We are using the hashtag #ArchiTalks to hopefully gain some momentum and help others understand what we do as Architects. It should be a great dialog and one that I hope will continue for some time into the future. As several of the other responses are being posted around the internet, the links below are those that have already posted. This list will be populated and updated as others continue to contribute today. *Also it should go without saying all opinions expressed by those in the links below are their own and are not reflective of Hawkins Architecture, Inc.  (* legal stuff)

Today’s open topic: Favorite Place 


Enoch Sears – Business of Architecture ( @businessofarch ) Where Do You Like to Go When You Aren’t Working

Bob Borson – Life of An Architect ( @bobborson ) On a break for PlayHouse Competition

Matthew Stanfield – FiELD9: architecture ( @FiELD9arch ) Ruby Slippers

Marica McKeel – Studio MM ( @ArchitectMM ) Do You Have a Favorite Place?

Jeff Echols – Architect Of The Internet ( @Jeff_Echols )

Lee Calisti, AIA – Think Architect ( @LeeCalisti ) Favorite Place

Mark R. LePage – Entrepreneur Architect ( @EntreArchitect )

Evan Troxel – TRXL ( @etroxel ) My Favorite Place

Lora Teagarden – L² Design, LLC ( @L2DesignLLC )  ArchiTalks meets #ThisOldHouse

Collier Ward – Thousand Story Studio ( @collier1960 ) 

Cormac Phalen – Cormac Phalen ( @archy_type ) Baltimore

Nicholas Renard – Cote Renard Architecture ( @coterenard )

Jeremiah Russell – ROGUE Architecture ( @rogue_architect favorite place: #architalks 5th edition

Jes Stafford – Modus Operandi Design ( @modarchitect )  Making Space and the Favorite Place

Rosa Sheng – Equity by Design/ The Missing 32% ( @miss32percent )

Michele Grace Hottel – Michele Grace Hottel, Architect ( @mghottel )  Favorite Place

Meghana Joshi – IRA Consultants, LLC ( @MeghanaIRA )  Oh the Places You’ll Go

Amy Kalar –  ArchiMom  ( @AmyKalar ) 

Michael Riscica – Young Architect  ( @YoungArchitxPDX ) A Favorite Place

Stephen Ramos –  Buildings are Cool   ( @sramos_BAC ) Cinque Terre

Brian Paletz – The Emerging Architect ( @bpaletz )  Favorite Place(s)

Tara Imani – Tara Imani Designs, LLC ( @Parthenon1 ) Favorite Place – Architalks 8

Jonathan Brown – Proto-Architecture ( @mondo_tiki_man ) Favorite Place

Eric Wittman – intern[life] ( @rico_w ) my [first] favorite place