ARE — The Turnstile

You flagged the day in your calendar, booked the flight, reserved the hotel room, procured transportation … all in time for the big game. On game day, you packed your bag, but you aren’t there yet. You outfitted your game gear, but you aren’t there yet. You arrived at the stadium, but you’re still not there yet. The scheduling, the transportation, the gear and even the arrival is all preparation, it’s hype, but you aren’t there yet. The hype becomes reality the moment you traverse the turnstile and enter the stadium. The experience is no longer hype, it’s reality. The passage through the turnstile makes the experience real. In the architecture world, the Architectural Record Exam (ARE) is game day and the beginning of the professional experience. read more →

Ugly is in the Details

Enemies are the factions that want the opposite of your best intentions. Your right is their wrong. Their action is your reaction. This polarity is especially true regarding your friends-in-survival, air and water who ironically can be a building’s worst enemies. I call this gang The infiltrators, most notably the air assassins & wiley water who lurk in the environment ready to attack your building nooks and crannies. When infiltrators attack they leave mayhem and destruction in their wake. Air and water damage is ugly. What can you do to prevent damage? Ugly is in the details! read more →

9-11 — A Look Back

The only constant in life is change. Every generation has a pardigm shifting event that forever changed lives and perception. For my grandparents, it was the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. For my parents it was the MLK and JFK assassinations, and for my generation it was the 9-11 tragedy. read more →

Bad Mentor, Good Mentor

Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get — Forrest Gump. My friend, Forrest, refers to the unexpected disappointment of finding a jelly core in your chocolate bite instead of a coveted caramel. Choosing your favorite chocolate from the box was an anxious adventure until chocolate manufacturer’s published a legend to distinguish the jelly (bad) from the caramel (good). Like searching for the chocolate in an unmarked box, your mentor search can prove equally precarious. On the outside they may look alike but will your mentor be chewy caramel goodness or wretched jelly sludge? Selecting a mentor doesn’t have to be a calculated risk. Setting your expectations and research can separate the good mentor experience from the bad. read more →

Advice List — From K thru Architect

Advice is like noise. Some of it is good like gentle music, children’s laughter or a targeted whisper, but some of it is bad like heavy traffic, guttural shrieks or angry voices. A discriminating ear successfully separates the good noise from bad. Judgement, however, is more subjective and requires conscious thought to distinguish between good and bad. In the absence of an unconditional advice-authority, I defer to Robert Fulghum, the author of All I needed to know I learned in Kindergarten. Robert conceived an advice list some scholars declare is the most comprehensive human behavior recipe so I adopted this slightly redacted version of the All-I-Needed-I-Learned-in-Kindergarten advice for working with an architect. read more →

Change — The Document Evolution

Allow me to take you on a journey. Sit back, feet on the floor, back pressed into the lumbar support on your chair, breathe deeply, close your eyes…wait, don’t close your eyes or you can’t read the rest of this article. Do everything up to the close your eyes part. Now that you’re comfortable, think back to elementary school science class. Maybe you had a teacher, like Ms. Kersey, who always kept a small fish tank, with a mossy rock, pond water and a few tadpoles she rescued from a pond, mud puddle or tire rut. Do you remember rushing into class every day to check the tank for the next stage in the metamorphosis? It starts as an egg, hatches into a head with a tail, develops legs, the tail shrinks, the mouth widens, the eyes bulge and the tadpole becomes a froglet that eventually grows lungs and transforms into a frog. The mature frog needed every stage from the initial birth through the transformation to become a viable frog. Construction documents experience a similar evolution. Documents begin as broadly-defined planning or scope documents, from which an architect creates detailed design documents and ultimately transforms them into construction documents. read more →

House or Home — Discover the Difference

House or home. Point or counterpoint. A glance into my past reveals a younger and prouder intern-architect passionately argued this comparison with other interns often late at night in the design studio. The revelation it was a passionate discussion suggests mind-loosening libations may have been involved. Facts elude me, but I’m sure I made a well-reasoned argument for my position and defended it convincingly or at the very least, loudly; however, experience and discretion rewarded me with compelling visual tools to illustrate the difference between these seemingly synonymous and often polarizing terms. read more →

Name That Stile!

To anyone learning English as a second language they will admit this language is loaded with complicated synonyms, homonyms, idioms and onomatopoeia. It’s extremely challenging for native speakers and adoptive speakers alike to process these nuances. Sometimes I forget architecture vocabulary is a second language for clients and contractors. An architect’s dictionary includes as many nuances as the English language and a simple word choice can mis-communicate an otherwise simple idea. read more →