06 Mar 2016

Architecture and m&ms — We Go Together

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  • Peanut butter & jelly…
  • Sticks & stones…
  • Laurel & hardy…

The preceding pairs are natural complements that just make sense. Few people challenge the ideal combination of well-balanced food, materials and comedy. But I’m here to reveal an equally powerful but lesser known pair that every architect and every person should know. <drumroll> My timeless paring is architecture & m&ms.<cymbal clash>

I love architecture but any profession with this many players (design professionals, clients, lenders, realtors, contractors, subcontractors and suppliers) and this many moving parts (property, weather, fixtures, materials, selections) is sTrEsSfUl!

A design and construction champion learns to deal with stress. For some it’s a hot bath, a long walk, a massage, a good book or a favorite libation but my chosen stress-reliever is the healing power of melt-in-your-mouth, not-in-your-hand m&ms. [Mars owes me a stipend for the mention. 10 bags should do it]

One handful of these colorful crunchy candies absorbs stress so convincingly and completely that m&ms are #3 on my project supply list and a measurable performance metric.

Architecture Supply List:

  1. Sketch marker
  2. computer
  3. m&ms

Every project employs metrics to evaluate design and construction performance:

Project Performance Metrics:

  • –scope resolution: actual v. changes
  • –budget compliance: budget v. final
  • –schedule completion: proposed v. finished
  • –m&ms consumed: completed bag count (also known as a “bagger“)

Here’s a few architecture and m&m case studies to illustrate my point.

Case Study 1: Flowers Anyone?

I distinctly remember the large landscape project where the struggling contractor pledged his devotion on Tuesday and subsequently removed all construction equipment on Wednesday never to be seen again. Despite a quick re-hire of a replacement contractor, that was a two-bagger.

Case Study 2: Blow Me Down

I shudder when I think about a set back two days before closing. The site work subcontractor rammed the back hoe through the new carport and flattened it. Double-shifts and a four-day delay prompted an m&m three-bagger.

Case Study 3: Push It!

Late in the construction document phase the client made a significant floor plan revision that affected slab, walls, roof and other major building systems. The extensive change delayed design completion 4-months creating a studio traffic jam. That was a 4-bagger supplemented with red wine because sometimes dark chocolate is not enough. If I experience many more of these, I’ll consider adding the bottler metric to my business plan next year.

M&ms helped me through those and other project hiccups. During my sugar bliss, I crafted a few m&m-inspired cliches.

“when the going gets tough, the tough gorge on m&ms”

“an m&m in the hand is worth two in the bag”

“it’s all fun and games until someone loses an m&m”

It’s all in a days work, but no matter the situation I survive as long as I have my friends:

architecture and m&ms.


Architalks Credits

This is another entry in Bob Borson’s blogging brain-child titled, “ArchiTalks”.

The #ArchiTalks goal is to inspire blogging architects with similar educational and professional requirements to opine on the same topic and simulpost their response so other architects and a broader audience can enjoy the rampant thought-diversity within the architecture profession

Select the links in “Architalks Entries” below to read how architects responded to the “Architecture & …” topic.

image credits:

  • m&m
Architalks Entries

Marica McKeel – Studio MM (@ArchitectMM)
Architecture and Photography

Jeff Echols – Architect Of The Internet (@Jeff_Echols)
Architecture and a Future Without Architects

Lee Calisti, AIA – Think Architect (@LeeCalisti)
architecture and __

Lora Teagarden – L² Design, LLC (@L2DesignLLC)
Architecture and Travel

Collier Ward – One More Story (@BuildingContent)
Architecture and Storytelling

Jes Stafford – MODwelling (@modarchitect)
Architecture and Gaming

Eric T. Faulkner – Rock Talk (@wishingrockhome)
architecture and m&ms

Rosa Sheng – EquitybyDesign [EQxD] (@EquityxDesign)
Architecture And the Era of Connection

Michele Grace Hottel – Michele Grace Hottel, Architect (@mghottel)
#ArchiTalks 18: architecture and… the bigger picture

Meghana Joshi – IRA Consultants, LLC (@MeghanaIRA)
Architalks 18: Architecture and Mathematics

Amy Kalar – ArchiMom (@AmyKalar)
Architalks 18: Architecture and … Parenting

Michael Riscica – Young Architect (@YoungArchitxPDX)
Architecture and Yoga

brady ernst – Soapbox Architect (@bradyernstAIA)
Architecture and Ego

Brian Paletz – The Emerging Architect (@bpaletz)

Michael LaValley – Evolving Architect (@archivalley)
Architecture and Ego / The Architect’s Unique Struggle with ‘Good’ Design

Sharon George – Architecture By George (@sharonraigeorge)
Architecture and Kids

Emily Grandstaff-Rice – Emily Grandstaff-Rice FAIA (@egrfaia)
Architecture and More

Jarod Hall – di’velept (@divelept)
Architecture and the Myth of the Master Builder

Greg Croft – Sage Leaf Group (@croft_gregory)
Architecture and Real Estate

Jeffrey A Pelletier – Board & Vellum (@boardandvellum)
Architecture and Interior Design

Samantha Raburn – The Aspiring Architect (@TheAspiringArch)
Architecture and Wrestling

Keith Palma – Architect’s Trace (@cogitatedesign)
Architecture + Memories

Keith Palma – Architect’s Trace (@cogitatedesign)
Architecture + Memories

Adam Denais – Defragging Architecture (@DefragArch)
[#ArchiTalks 18] Architecture and Strange Travel Etiquette

Jim Mehaffey – Yeoman Architect (@jamesmehaffey)
Architecture and…my Generation.


About the Author

Your Architect is Eric Faulkner -- an architect licensed in Texas & Oklahoma with 26 years experience in design, construction observation and life.