Public Owners? Private Owners? Contractors? Architects?
orig post date Apr 2013
I was reflecting on the tools that were in use when I entered the workforce in 1970. A parallel edge, triangles, french curve, electric eraser, calculator and some odds and ends cost about $300 ($100 for the TR-100 calculator!). These tools could be mastered completely in a month or less.
I am by no means advocating going back. But by contrast, today an architect's tools cost about $6,000 - computer/monitor, CAD/BIM software, operating system, miscellaneous other software. And elsewhere there is a shared server, network, plotter and printer. Despite the hours spent continually on learning how to use these tools, no one ever completely masters them.
These changes in technology are not embracing the individual, but rather the team. The capabilities of one individual and the time constraints of getting a building designed make the idea of the sole proprietor already untenable for the 50,000+ SF project. There may always be a niche for the sole proprietor. Nothing ever becomes completely obsolete. After all somebody still makes buggy whips.
I suspect that technology will someday make the architect's tools as manageable (master-able) as they once were, but the trend of increasing complexity in projects is probably not going to reverse. In the next few years we will probably be including life-cycle costing, psychology of color, of materials and of space to the complexity that accessibility and sustainability have already added to design of buildings.
The team approach is here to stay. Working on team-building will replace working on learning CAD/BIM. Every ten years or so a new crop of designers will need to be indoctrinated into how teams work best. Alternatively the capabilities of technology, which are embedded in the product, will get easier and easier to master.
orig post date Mar 2013
Most people recognize a hashtag for what it is and read it, or ignore it and move on. But there are some people who have a visceral reaction to hashtags, especially when they come across them outside the twitterverse.
"Hashtags have two uses", I tried to explain to Kevin, my barber - I mean hair stylist.
"One use is a category tag that allows you to search for other Tweets on the same topic. The second use is a way of setting context or commenting, often humorously."
Kevin asks, "How the *%?$ does it make sense to use hashtags on Facebook?"
"Well, Kevin, I think it is safe to say those folks intend the second use."
"That is so f!"@#€~ stupid! That annoys the crap out of me!"
"It's just a hashtag. Don't look at it. Ignore it."
"I can't. It's too f!"@#€~ stupid!"
This conversation has to be the most fun I've had since 2008.
...and it just keeps paying dividends!
orig post date APR 2013
The Boss came from a masonry family, father and brothers were bricklayers. The Boss's firm did a lot of schools. Masonry schools. We only thought in masonry modules - 8", 1'-4", etc.
On the way back to the office, I said I had THE SOLUTION. The Boss bit. I pitched the idea that we would use stone carvings of cows, produce, chickens to give the departments some character. I thought my facetiousness was transparent, but I was quizzed about how we would get the carvings. "I'll bet the monument company down the street from the office could handle it. Think of all the shapes they incorporate into tombstones." The Associate knows I'm joking and doesn't bother to say what a crap idea it is.
The Boss being a man of action called the grocery store owner and pitched my idea that afternoon.
"Well, Rick, they are on-board with your idea. Give the monument guys a call and see what they will need from us."
"Boss, you know I was just putting you on about the stone chicken, right?"
A 'Stone Chicken Idea' quickly became a thing.
orig post date APR 2013
Architekwiki started out as a hobby in the spring of 2012. The economy was furnishing quite a lot of free time. I had worked on the development of four other websites so I knew how I wanted to build this one with Weebly.
In early October 2012, I had the site up and running and began posting blogs on WIKI, adding BLOG posts a month later with this one ( http://www.architekwiki.com/4/post/2012/11/beginnings.html ) and started the DETAILS posts in January 2013.
By the end of the 2012 summer we closed the office to escape overhead and worked from home. There were just two of us by then. We had very little work and prospects of less. By April of 2013, I realized, “I guess I’m retired.” I had been denying the reality for over six months. I hadn’t planned to retire. As owner of the firm I expected to keep working into my 70s or 80s.
Now, it turns out that I just might do that, only as a part time blogger rather than as an architect.
The most amazing thing that I have discovered is that I don’t miss being an architect. That wasn't conceivable a year ago.
Not being an architect, not being in the business world, not being in the rat-race is quite nice. Minimal stress. Time for “stuff”. For family. It’s an eye-opener. If it weren’t for that pesky need to make a living, I would be recommending it for everyone. Instead I recommend Tim Ferriss’ 4-Hour Work Week ... and robots.
The reason this development is so amazing is that I knew that I wanted to be an architect by my junior year in high school, although the school counselor thought that ’bus driver’ was a better fit. I suspect guidance counseling back then (1963) was more art than science. I also knew I wanted to have my own firm. In 1980 that happened. 32 years later I pitched most files; moved the archives home; and wound things down. And here we are. I sure couldn't see this coming.
I suppose I could go postal over the housing and banking collapse that the US banks brought on with the assistance of our government; but in my newly serene state that doesn't get much traction. Although sometimes I feel a really good rant lurking in the background.
Anyways, I felt like Architekwiki’s roots needed to be a little clearer. This hobby started out as sharing what I know so you don't have to reinvent the wheel. I’m starting to see that sharing experiences might be just as helpful as sharing knowledge.
Over the years, I have found that the best way to absorb information is to pay attention to it when you notice it.
My theory is that noticing it is an indication that you are receptive to that type of information at the moment. Even if you are too 'wrapped up' right then, bookmark or copy or 'Instapaper' it for consumption later.
Conversely, when you sign up for a seminar, webinar, or follow someone else's suggestion (like now), you are less likely to make the information your own because it wasn't your attention that put it in front of you.
orig post date Jan 2013
Three times a year, I update the Best Of Architekwiki page. Today's the day for an update. The diagram above shows what happened. It's actually more complicate than it looks due to the decision to switch the meaning of each column.
Three pages dropped off the list:
How To Design - Schematic Design
This Schematic Design Process has been developed over many projects. But the nature of design is that there are many ways to get to the end result.
The Six Phases Of A Project
I guess classics are [aren't?] timeless.
Note Taking Apps - Inkflow vs Notability
Both Apps are excellent in their own way. Right now you can get both for ten bucks.
Three new pages made the list:
Reception Counter Casework
Guidance on a Reception Counter for your next project. This detail touches on designing and detailing.
Roof Access Ladder
Roof Access Ladders are a big help when there are multi-level roofs and it is not feasible to have interior access by way of a roof hatch...
Linear Skylight & Ceiling Details
Skylights can have a dramatic impact on the interior of the building. Natural daylight provides interesting light and can reduce the need for other artificial types of lighting.
Two of the three that dropped off were in the 'All Time' column last time, which surprises me.
All seven that remain have changed rankings.
Take a look at the revised Best Of Architekwiki page to easily check out the most popular pages. Do you agree?
Architekwiki NEWSletter No. 3 will arrive in mailboxes tomorrow, the 3rd. Sign Up so you won't miss it. (Even if you do, you will get a link to the archives in your 'Welcome' email.)
This issue focuses on architectural fees and especially my system for calculating them. You won't want to miss the chance to get your own copy of my Excel workbook before it goes on sale in the Store in January.
The workbook takes your data, calculates the fee, and creates a design budget. The customizable fee table is nice to have even if you don't use the workbook.
Sign Up now so you don't miss out!
Over the years we have developed a lot of ways to improve management of the firm. We listed several articles recently that describe some of our efforts. Here are several more.
Our System For Checking-Off Management Boxes
This article describes our method of check-box management where we take care of all the behind the scenes stuff.
Paperless Submittals - The How
We encourage digital submittals; and this is the process we use.
How To Evaluate A Potential Project
Most of the time you feel like any job is a good job, but this is how we find out if the job really is ’good’.
How To Use A Master Deliverables Checklist
If you turn your list of deliverables into a master list, there are several benefits.
Paperless Filing: How The Backend Works
Filing digitally has a lot of benefits. Here’s how we take advantage.
Paperless Filing: How The Backend Works - Part 2
Part 2 of how we take advantage.