Along with the holidays come all of those holiday parties. And along with most any holiday party comes the potential for uneasy conversation and awkward small-talk. You’ve been there, you know you have; the only question is which side of the fence you were on. If you’re going to be in a room with one or more architects this holiday season, we recommend brushing up on some things not to say. We’ve rounded up our list of favorite taboo quotes, complete with mind-reading translations of what the architects will be thinking, should you elect to go there. Enjoy.

I always wanted to be an architect
Translation: I took an architecture course in college for about 6 minutes; you people are nuts. While you were toiling away in studio I was showing the entire Alpha Phi sorority how to make vodka Jello.

I always admired architects back in school for their dedication
Translation: I make 3 or 4 times as much as you do and I only spent four-and-a-half years in school.

I wouldn’t have made it in architecture school; I wasn’t any good at math
Translation: I never set foot outside the school of communication and would be blown away to find out how little math is required to get a degree in architecture.

Have you ever designed one of those cool infinity edge swimming pools?
Translation: I haven’t the slightest idea what to talk to you architects about; I saw a cool swimming pool in the last copy of Architectural Digest that I flipped through years ago while sitting in my dentist’s waiting room. I think it was the house of someone famous.

We should talk to you about a dormer project that we’ve been thinking about for a while
Translation: My wife has been nagging me for years about turning the attic into a master suite. I don’t care at all about the master bedroom, but you seem like the kind of guy that I could pawn this off on to get the heat off me for a while.

You practice architecture AND teach -must be nice getting two paychecks
Translation: I’m oblivious to the fact that, by the time you include bus fare, most architects actually pay to teach.

I’ve got this idea for my dream house that you’d really get a kick out of…
Translation: I still live in my parent’s basement.

So what do you think of the new stadium design?
Translation: I couldn’t care less what you think of the new stadium design; my husband is getting me another drink and I’m really hoping that this question bridges the gap.

My favorite architects are Frank Gehry and Frank Lloyd Wright
Translation: the only architects I’ve ever heard of are Frank Gehry and Frank Lloyd Wright.

So you’re an architect, my cousin’s wife [or other semi-distant relative] is an architect
Translation: The ice in my glass has entirely melted and now my drink tastes watered down.

Back in college, I had a buddy that studied architecture but I never saw much of him because he was always in studio
Translation: there was an architect in my fraternity back in college and we always used to hang out in his room because he wasn’t ever there and he had nice furniture.

I should show you the flashing around my chimney, maybe you can figure out why it leaks
Translation: I don’t really understand what architects do.

So you’re an architect, do you do residential or commercial work?
Translation: I commute from my suburban home to an office park 5 days a week; I haven’t been to a museum, a café or a dinner venue that isn’t a chain restaurant since the Clinton Administration.

You’d love it; it’s got a lot of very elaborate trim and cove molding details
Translation: I have never heard of the modern movement. The phrase “less is more” sounds like it might apply to my septic tank.

So do you guys still use T-squares and those plastic triangles?
Translations: you look like you just crawled out from under a rock and the digital revolution may very well have passed you by. When’s the last time you got some sleep, man?

We used an architect for our last house
Translation: I will never hire an architect again. The last time we worked with an architect the project came in 75% over budget and the architect still thought they were the icing on the cake.

What’s your favorite building?
Translation: If you don’t say something that I can relate to, this conversation is over.

Do you have a preference between Ionic and Corinthian columns?
Translation: I drive a Roman chariot and wear a tunic.

I actually designed it -I just had the architect draw it up
Translation: I don’t know a wall section from a carpet sample. I had a few creative ideas from that time that I sniffed epoxy-glue in 7th grade shop class and they’ve been rattling around in my head ever since. I found a drafter who got straight C’s in architecture school who couldn’t give a crap about making a name for himself; he’d put his stamp on a Rorschach test if I paid him to. The plans flew through the building department because all the details came straight out of a Graphic Standards book from the 1980’s.

…and by all means, add your favorites.
Cheers and happy holidays from team BUILD