Well, “Landmark” may be a bit of puffery. But, sadly, the Architekwiki ’STORE’ is closing its figurative doors this weekend. Perhaps it’s the economy. Perhaps it was an idea ahead of its time. xxxManagement hasxxx I have determined that the STORE hasn't passed a cost/benefit analysis after six months of existence. Apparently the store infrastructure incurs a monthly cost which has not been offset by revenue.
I suspect that the STORE will be resurrected at some point with a (hopefully) more viable concept and more intriguing merchandise.
The native format files that the STORE has offered will continue to be available to subscribers of the NEWSltr without charge. Subscribers will be getting a special issue detailing the changes.
The PDFs offered in the STORE will be integrated into the articles in which they were introduced as free downloads. This will take place over time, and the articles will be re-posted to draw attention to the changes.
The ’PLAN’, right now, is to replace the STORE with the BEST OF ARCHITEKWIKI page. This ’BEST OF’ page will undergo enhancements over time and will eventually be a Table Of Contents for the blogs where you can find information in a different way than you can find it now.
Although these changes are driven by economics, there is a large time component involved as well. That salvaged time will be devoted to keeping our content flowing and improving.
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!
This is what the Architekwiki NEWSletter looks like if you haven't seen it yet.
The next issue of the Architekwiki NEWSletter is due out on December 3rd. I’m cranking on it now, but things are still a little fuzzy. I thought I would use this post to think through a few options and urge you to sign up so you don't miss the next issue.
Here are some of the possibilities.
- estimating design fees: a review of the process that I use to arrive at a fee
- hiring interns: pros - cons - considerations
- starting the Architekwiki Weekly (our newspaper): the thought process
- planning an eBook: what, when, why and how
- 100% off something: a discount code to get something from the store for free
- a new file of some sort: include a link in the NEWSletter to a free download, eliminating the Store process
Of course, the actual content won’t matter to you if you don't subscribe to the NEWSletter because that is the only place it will appear. Why not SUBSCRIBE right now so you don’t miss out?
I recently completed a six part series of posts on accounting for the small architectural or design firm. Here is a quick outline and the links to each article.
Part 1 - Invoicing
What you need to do to get the invoices out the door.
Part 2 - Paying Bills
What you need to do to stay on top of paying your bills.
Part 3 - A Simple System
How to use your online checking account and some spreadsheets to do your bookkeeping.
Part 4 - Other Accounting Issues
Other tasks to consider when you are taking care of bookkeeping.
Part 5 - Software Criteria
What to look for in an online service to help you do the bookkeeping.
Part 6 - Software Comparison
A comparison of 14 online bookkeeping services that we have used, experimented with or simply researched.
Hope this helps if you are considering a change for next year, trying to get bookkeeping set up, or looking for some resources.
SORRY, THIS POST IS OBSOLETE!
SORRY, THIS POST IS OBSOLETE!
SORRY, THIS POST IS OBSOLETE!
Whew! Taking on this Store idea is not only a lot of work, at least for now, but it keeps the pressure on to fill up the Store so it doesn't look like a 7/11 just before the hurricane hits - bare shelves.
Every page has been updated with a link to the Sign-Up page. So everyone can find that page with a click from just about everywhere. Once you sign up you have access to free PDF downloads. This is explained in the Welcome email you will get. You also receive a discount code for 50% off any native file format "products".
The Store has a new addition - a set of templates for simple contracts. I'm working on an article to introduce this new addition.
I'm getting used to calling the downloads 'products', technically digital products. This seems foreign. But the service I am using to implement the process calls them Products, so I will be assimilated pretty quickly.
The new MGMT-01 Contract Templates that was added yesterday gave me the opportunity to see how that would work. The process requires more clean-up of the originals than I expected, but I think it will be worth it to you.
I also had a chance to find and incorporate our 'ctb' file for AutoCAD into the process of converting the DWGs to PDFs. This was the missing link in getting the line weights to look normal. When I get a chance, I will re-do the Corporate 01 PDFs and JPGs so they look better.
Coming up next is Issue No. 1 of the newsletter! Target date is September 10th.
Project Drawings are still on track. At first, I expect to publish a set of project drawings every other week, then taper off to every third week, and finally settle into once a month. This is tentative, but should be achievable. The only hitch so far has been converting DWG files into PDFs. The conversion is easy, but I'm not happy with the quality of the black and white PDFs. The line density is too light. I've tried 3 of 6 ideas so far without any improvement. This could hold up things a little until I get it debugged.
[OBSOLETE] Those who are hyper-observant will have noticed that the name of the DOWNLOADS page has changed. Now the name is STORE. I decided that it was stupid to password protect the page, which was the plan. Didn't think that idea through to its conclusion. The plan now is that anyone can visit our growing stock of Project Drawings (and other things are in the works, too.) To show appreciation for our followers, now I will offer discount codes to use in lieu of money to buy these 'premium' items that I feel I need to charge for to make up for the time it takes to produce them. Which brings me to the latest change. I am ready to start collecting email addresses so I can offer the discount codes.
[Revised] Architekwiki is inching closer to fully integrating a new Sign Up page into the website. By signing up you receive access to PDFs an Native File Format files for free.
Click this link to learn more about the sign up process and to Sign Up.
Just a couple of days ago I wrote about My Methods for publishing a blog. The new endeavor of publishing whole sets of project drawings has created a new process. I like to track my progress as I work on a task like this that has so many steps. I considered duplicating this form by printing it out each time to mark up with pen, or storing it in Evernote and opening it in Skitch to record progress, or taking a screenshot of it that can be imported into Penultimate or Inkflow.
The screenshot imported to Inkflow worked the best by far due to the ease of zooming in so that handwritten text can be fit into the form. However, what works even better is to use the screenshot as the stationery of the Inkflow book of 'Project Drawing Post Checklists'. (Fig. 2)
Here is what the process looks like.
PROJECT DRAWINGS PUBLICATION CHECKLIST
Select Project. _____________________________________________
Education, Corporate, Commercial, Industrial, Community, Recreation, Green, Govmnt, Misc
Name Post. _____________________________________________
Set up Dropbox folder __________________________________________ (Fig. 1)
Copy dwg files to new folder / rename files __________________________________________
Clean off telltale text / Crop/delete title block data / Delete authorship info
Create Zip file of DWGs / Name file
Create PDFs (if needed)
Copy PDFs To Drive/Ready Folder
Open PDFs in Preview and Obscure Telltale Text / Crop Ea Drawing / Duplicate / Save / Rename
Create Zip file of PDFs / Name file
Edit Icon Master _____________________________________________ (Fig. 3)
Start new post / insert text-image widget / insert 2-col / insert image widget for each sheet (Fig. 4)
Insert icon / text master / images
Edit all images for light box / alt text / captions
Calc SF__________________ / UseGroup _________________/ConstrType _______________
Edit Text / add links to 'Sign-Up' and 'Download' pages
Proof / Publish
Update 'Download' page:
Insert text-image widget / insert image / copy-paste description
Add button or e-junkie widget(s)
Maybe you have a blog or want to start one. Maybe your firm wants to start a blog or get more consistent with the one they have. Maybe you aren't interested in what goes on behind the scenes. Well, I'm going to tell you anyway.
The basic process is straightforward:
Plan For Publishing Project Drawings
As I have searched our project archives for details to share, it has dawned on me that sharing the entire set of architectural project drawings may be just as useful to you, Dear Reader. In fact, I am thinking that I will publish all the project drawings that we have digital files for. Perhaps we will look into scanning the older project drawings that only exist on paper, too.
To my knowledge no one has ever done this before - publish a firm’s entire archive of project drawings. Maybe this will be a ’thing’. But if Architekwiki is a Resource and a Reference for architects, this seems like a good way of pursuing that mission.
There is a fair amount of work involved to do this. I may have to charge a modest price for future sets of project drawings, but for now, as I experiment and try to gauge the level of enthusiasm for this concept, the PDFs of the project drawings will be free in exchange for your email address.
In order to set expectations, I need to mention a couple of things. First these drawings will be stripped of any indication of authorship, location, owner, project name or any uniquely recognizable feature. The owners of these projects would rightfully object to having their facility’s project drawings on display on the Internet. Second, I don't own the structural and mechanical/electrical drawings, so I can't include those. Third, these projects are not suitable for copying for several reasons: 1) you would have to be an idiot and a charlatan to copy someone else’s work and represent it as your own, 2) all of these projects were designed for unique needs and contexts and won't be suitable for other needs and contexts, 3) codes are different now and different where you are, and 4) see reason #1.
Having said why you shouldn’t copy these project drawings, there is nevertheless something to be learned from seeing how someone else solved a design problem, a construction detail, or how a complete set of architectural project drawings is put together, what it includes, and what it looks like. So the point is to make examples available for you to learn from, not to do your work for you.
There are dozens of details and templates and examples on Architekwiki now. This might be a good time to assemble all of them in one place where they can be found and downloaded. Well, that should keep me busy until Thanksgiving.
Look for the first project in the next couple of weeks.
Starting last week details began appearing under the 'DETAILS' page.
Clipping details from bid sets is easier than I anticipated. I had planned to embed the PDF in the page. The very first post on the Raised Counter was done this way. Later I noticed that the embedded PDF was not visible on iOS devices. The work-around is to also make a JPEG of the detail and post it as an image with a link to the PDF for downloading.
Many of these first details will be interiors details, but before long Shell and Roof details will join them.
I hope this is a helpful reference. Contact me through about.me/rickw or the comments if you have any requests or observations.
The idea for Architekwiki has been kicking around in various states of development for about two years. Earlier this year I began seriously planning the project, and I planned to start working on it in earnest in early 2013. However, once the planning began to take shape, task after task completed themselves. In other words I found that Architekwiki was becoming a hobby that I couldn't get enough of, rather than the side job that it was meant to be.
Of course at this point there is no way of knowing if anyone will take notice or benefit from the content that is planned. Nevertheless the fun of learning and of putting this website together is all that I need to keep going.
One of the key ingredients of the project is Weebly, the website building service that I discovered about five years ago, and that I have tinkered with off and on since then. Aside from Apple's iWeb that I have used, and which is no longer supported, Weebly is almost unbelievably easy to use. If you can't build a website with Weebly it is because you can't envision what you want. Weebly is free! Although I use the Pro version to have access to all the tools and multiple websites.
One of the firms that I look up to is 37signals. I am following their advice to not overplan a project like Architekwiki; just jump in and quickly get a working, simple version out in front of your audience. Learn from doing and from feedback. Keep making improvements.