I've been trolling through our old projects looking for something to publish that might be interesting. The choice is a courthouse that we designed in the 90s. (Providing the .dwg files aren’t corrupted.)
Courthouses since then have gotten more and more elaborate. I wonder where the money comes from? In this case the budget was hanging over our heads before we drew the first line.
The state agency that manages court facilities had a non-negotiable maximum rent that they would pay. If the actual rent was higher, local government paid the difference. This local government entity was our client. So the first meeting went like this.
CLIENT: "Find out how much rent we will get per square foot; then work backwards from there to make sure that rent payment will retire the bonds we sell to pay for construction, design, and any other soft costs because we can't put a nickel into this project."
ARCHITECT: "Got it."
The project came in about $100,000 less than budgeted...which the judges quickly spent on more wood paneling.
Another quirk of this project was that ’Pammy’ was the judges chief administrator and ran a tight ship. Nobody crossed Pammy. We decided that our main goal, after meeting the budget, was to make sure Pammy was happy. Luckily, we did.
I will probably pull a few details out of the drawings to publish separately. I remember we had a clever system for hanging the panelling, there was a skylight that worked out pretty nicely, there were ’brick beams’ at the entrance, and the judges benches were bullet-proofed with steel plates. Metal detectors were not common yet, so they thought they might need a place to hang out until the shooting was over. (Never needed.)
I’ve got the file folders set up. Next is copying the CAD files into them and start the sanitizing process while keeping an eye out for helpful details I can share. You should see something by Monday or so...
SORRY, THIS POST IS OBSOLETE!
SORRY, THIS POST IS OBSOLETE!
SORRY, THIS POST IS OBSOLETE!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)
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.
Work on adding drawing details to the site has resumed. The organizing principle has been worked out and can be found here. Or try this if the link doesn't work for some reason.
I want to get a few details actually ready to publish before adding 'DETAILS' to the menu.
Of course I have a plan that I have been tracking in Nozbe as my "WIKI Details" project. Here is a look at my uncompleted tasks as of mid-December. It gives you an idea of where I am going with this.
PLANNING & RESEARCH
* determine if .dwg files can be uploaded
* compare/research 'architect's tool box' website
* develop pros/cons of jpeg only
* develop pros/cons of PDF only
* develop pros/cons of .dwg only
* develop pros/cons of also .dwg
* decide what we are going to provide - PDF, jpeg, .dwg or combination
* develop pros/cons of starting with paper or digital details
* decide if we will start with paper or digital
* determine how we will eliminate duplicates
* Use Uniformat II for ID number system
* Develop a template for detail post
* develop a template for the detail description
* Make a process diagram for developing a new detail post.
* develop disclaimer for WIKI page
* develop disclaimer for each detail post
PRODUCE INITIAL POSTINGS
* assign tasks to Alice and me
* find all paper details
* organize hand-drafted detail files
* design "template" for paper WIKI post
* diagram paper-based process for posting details
* prepare test detail post (paper)
* debug test (paper)
* revise process (paper)
PRODUCE 'SECOND WAVE' DETAILS
* find and assemble all digital details
* organize digital detail files
* design "template" for digital WIKI post
* diagram digital process for posting details
* prepare test detail post (digital)
* debug test (digital)
* revise process (digital)
POST CULLED DETAILS
* make list of projects that may have useful details
* assemble drawings for review and extraction of details
CREATE DETAILS TO POST
* develop pros/cons of drawing digital versions of paper details
* decide if we will draw digital versions of paper details
* brainstorm sources of new details