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This is my contribution to this month’s ArchiTalks topic, “Moonlighting.”

The other posts are linked below. You can also find them on Twitter by following the hashtag, #ArchiTalks.



Moonlighting” was funny TV series. But I’ll save that for another blog post.

I know the practice of taking on side work while working in an architectural office is not rare. At least it wasn’t when I was an intern. With a wife and new child right after graduation, I had plenty of motivation to find extra work. But I rarely had the time.

Most of my extracurricular design and drafting turned out to be of the non-remuneration variety. Unpaid work. Pro bono publico offerings, for the public good. They included:

  • A study for a family member’s summer home renovation.
  • Volunteer work for a daycare that the Church ultimately couldn’t afford.
  • Preliminary sketches for a raptor center.
  • Various design competitions.

Come to think of it, perhaps the only paid gigs were renderings of proposed buildings.


Last year I closed my Alabama firm, Thousand Story Studio, to return to Charlotte for my current employment with Zapata. It was mutually agreed that I would cease all work with my former clients. There will be no side work for me now.

Or will there?

My boss, Manuel Zapata, revealed last year that he had written a book. It wasn’t a complete secret in the office, but to me and so many others it was a surprise. At the end of a typical Monday office meeting he rolled out a cart filled with his self-published debut novel, El Retorno. 

Here’s my signed copy…

El Retorno by Manuel Zapata

I’d love to tell you how well it’s written – and the story behind the story is fascinating – but Mr. Zapata wrote the novel in Spanish. I’m not able to read it in its current state. (You can take a look here.)

So, even though I won’t be caught moonlighting any architectural services, I will follow my boss’s lead and spend my free time crafting my own stories

Please see what my fellow architect bloggers have to say about moonlighting.

Check these out:

Bob Borson – Life of An Architect (@bobborson)
Should Architects Moonlight?

Jeff Echols – Architect Of The Internet (@Jeff_Echols)
The Ironic Blasphemy of Moonlighting and what Architects are Missing Out On

Lee Calisti, AIA – Think Architect (@LeeCalisti)
moonlighting more than an 80s sitcom

Lora Teagarden – L² Design, LLC (@L2DesignLLC)
Moon(lighting) changes with the seasons

Collier Ward – One More Story (@BuildingContent)

Jeremiah Russell, AIA – ROGUE Architecture (@rogue_architect)
hustle and grind: #architalks

Michael Riscica AIA – Young Architect (@YoungArchitxPDX)
Moonlighting for Young Architects

Stephen Ramos – BUILDINGS ARE COOL (@BuildingsRCool)
Architects do it All Night Long

Brian Paletz – The Emerging Architect (@bpaletz)
Starlight, moonlight – tick tock

Jeffrey Pelletier – Board & Vellum (@boardandvellum)
Is Moonlighting Worth It? Probably Not, But We All Try.

Kyu Young Kim – J&K Atelier (@sokokyu)
Dancing in the Moonlight

Keith Palma – Architect’s Trace (@cogitatedesign)
The Howling

Jim Mehaffey – Yeoman Architect (@jamesmehaffey)
Moonlighting: or Why I Kept My Dayjob.

Tim Ung – Journey of an Architect (@timothy_ung)
An Alternative to Moonlighting as a Young Architect

Mark Stephens – Mark Stephens Architects (@architectmark)
Architalks 28 Moonlighting

Gabriela Baierle-Atwood – Gabriela Baierle-Atwood (@gabrielabaierle)
On Moonlighting

Ilaria Marani – Creative Aptitude (@creaptitude)
There is no moonlighting. It’s a jungle!

Jane Vorbrodt – Kuno Architecture (@janevorbrodt)
Crafted Moonlighting

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