Making Systems that Work for You with Jan Millan

Jan Millan

Podcast jan Making Systems that Work for You with Jan Millan Podcast

Jan Millan has been to all of the municipalities in Puerto Rico, which is not something that everyone can say. He credits day trips to visit various Puerto Rican festivals as part of the reason he became interested in architecture. He remembers seeing all the people at the different festivals and being intrigued with the ways that they interacted with the built environment. 

Jan also explains that in Puerto Rico, the different municipalities have similar layouts and structures in the center of town. Visiting all of these different places and seeing all of the similar structures, but with spaces used in different ways depending on the needs of the area, helped him spot the differences and learn about the way that different spaces were used. 

Jan says that exposure to wealthy houses that he visited in the course of his stepfather’s work with household aquariums helped to spark an interest in architecture. He also believes that his early interest in photography helped him on the road to becoming a more visual communicator, which is ultimately what an architect does. 

With all of these influences, Jan made up his mind to become an architect by the time that he was in the 8th grade. He even attended a vocational school to take architectural drafting in high school, which he believed gave him a leg up during his architecture program. In today’s interview, Jan discusses his architecture education and later experience as well as his thoughts about Archicad, interns, and organizational systems.

What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

  • What inspired Jan to pursue a career in architecture
  • What Jan thought about architecture school
  • Jan’s first job
  • The problems with the term calling unlicensed architects “interns”
  • The importance of organizational systems for Jan
  • What Jan loves about Archicad
  • Jan’s involvement with the Young Architect community
  • Jan’s difficulty with exams
  • What Jan thinks about the Young Architect Conferences
  • Jan’s advice for aspiring architects
  • What Jan knows now that he didn’t know then
  • The book that changed everything for Jan
  • Jan’s favorite resource, product, or gadget
  • Jan’s best timesaving trick
  • How listeners can find Jan

Top Three Takeaways from This Episode:

  1. When someone is trying to sell you something, remember where they’re coming from.
  2. Create a role for yourself.
  3. If something doesn’t work, design a system to fix it.

Jan’s Advice for Aspiring Architects:

“Another tip or advice is: people listening to this that are – you are a designer. Doesn’t matter what role you are at work, what they call you, what your position is. When you’re an architect, you’re a designer. And if something doesn’t work, design a system to fix it.”

Favorite Quotes:

“At some point, you just need to let it go and things need to be pushed out.” –Jan on what he knows today that he didn’t know back then

“I think when I was in school there was one book that changed everything for me. It’s called Lessons for Students in Architecture by Herman Hertzberger.” –The book that changed everything for Jan

“I’m going to have to say that it’s definitely my iPad, but I think the whole Apple system works for me.” –Jan on his favorite resource, product, or gadget

“To me, I think automation shortcuts and templates really do it for me.” –Jan on his best time-saving trick

Resources Mentioned on the Show:

Jan Millan
Jan on Instagram
Jan on Facebook


Michael Riscica

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