5 Awesome Gift Ideas For Your Architect Friend

Ian Mutuli
Updated on

Getting someone in your life the right gift can be stressful. It’s satisfying, but it can be a real struggle to get there, especially if they’ve got very specific interests. Shopping for an architect checks that box.

Many architects have very highly developed taste, after all, an eye for detail is a professional asset for them. Plus, they make enough money that they can probably buy what they really want. To put it into perspective: the median salary for an architect in the US is $82,320 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That might make a gift card seem like a less exciting option. (1)

So, what’s a gift-giver with a special architect in their life to do? Focus on something that fits with their professional and personal interests, like one of the items listed below. If you're looking for more options, there are a lot more gift ideas over here as well.

1. Books on architecture

A book is a popular choice if you’re looking for a gift that reflects a friend or loved one’s passion. The problem? Picking books about an area you don’t know well yourself can be a minefield. For an architect, you’re probably safe selecting something that would be welcome on any architect’s bookshelf.

You could do worse than a copy of Le Corbusier’s Towards a New Architecture, for example. It’s a classic, and indispensable for any fan of the profession. Plus, it’s full of line drawings and photographs.

Another good choice is Bruno Munari’s Square, Circle, Triangle, a book that looks at how those shapes can help illuminate design’s history from ancient Egypt and Greece through the twentieth century. It has timeless insights and it’s a beautiful book.

Then, there’s always a classic like Gaston Bachelard’s The Poetics of Space, which was first published in 1958. The book contains meditations on art, poetry, and how domestic spaces can shape or memories and dreams.

2. Toys

People with an interest in design can be big fans of toys that allow them to play around with their passion. You could consider a set of blocks or something similar, or take a look at specialized LEGO sets meant for architects.

The LEGO Architecture Studio set gives you over 1200 LEGO bricks along with a guidebook that’s over 270 pages long. It’s filled with advice and techniques along with some design exercises. All told, it lets the architect in your life play around with building design, developing insights they can bring to their professional life (or just have a bit of fun!).

3. Desk lamps

Everyone needs light, and an architect is no exception. Drafting and designing each require a lot of light in your workspace. Choosing a desk lamp requires balancing design with functionality. The Artemide Tolomeo Mini Max Table Lamp, for example, has contemporary styling to balance the lighting it provides.

4. Pens

This is a personal choice too, but there are some good options that most people will likely find a use for. You could consider something utilitarian, and budget friendly, like the Penco Permanent Writer or the PILOT Razor Point II. Each of these options can move from drawing to writing with ease.

If you’re looking for something sleeker, consider a pen like the Lamy Safari fountain pen. Introduced in 1966, it was originally meant to help teach students proper handwriting technique. The upshot? It’s easy to use and can take a beating. The pen comes in a range of colors, and you can use replaceable cartridges or buy an ink converter that lets the user switch inks. Plus, while it’s a nice upgrade, it also lists for under $40, a nice balance between refinement and making a sensible choice. (2)

5. Briefcase or bag

While this can be a personal, and expensive choice, it’s also a meaningful one. After all, few items are used as frequently as an architect’s bag. You can opt for a canvas and leather bag that doubles as a tote for running errands around town. Or, you could look for a leather briefcase, with or without a shoulder strap.

Getting someone the right bag means paying enough attention to their habits to pick something that will meet their needs. Look at what they keep on their desk, and what they usually carry with them. That can help you choose something with enough space.

Final thoughts

If you’ve had a look through the list above, maybe you’ve found something that will work for you. Either way, focus on balancing your special architect’s personal and professional passion with what you know about them. Something from the heart will just about always be appreciated!

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.