Project Could be a Dream — Sh Boom

Remember a time when music, people and life was light-hearted and pleasant. Ah, Life Could be a Dream, Sweetheart, but how about architectural projects? The dream project is the project that compensates the provider, in my case the architect, after design and construction completion and continues to pay dividends. Why would you need a project that pays and continues to pay? Because, architecture is a labor-task profession. A design firm exerts an amount of time/labor to finish tasks and receives compensation for design or consulting task completion. It’s a laborious trade similar to other Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) trades. Effort exerted = money received, but what if the initial architectural effort paid in perpetuity? read more →

Construction Biz 101 – Billing Unmasked

The design is complete and it’s time to solicit bids. The client receives a bid summary that lists major line items and sums to a total amount. A second bid similarly lists major line items but not necessarily the same items or total. It’s the same project but the competing bid numbers are different. What the …?! Are there hidden project costs the Owner pays? The short answer is “No, there are no hidden costs, but a bid calculation combines several tangible costs with different labels such as Hard Cost, Overhead Cost and Profit. read more →

11 Oct 2018
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Inspire — A Clover

Can something unassuming, like a clover be the inspiration for something substantial, like an architectural project? Yes and yes. In fact it has been, is and will be as long as there are architects who are inspired by the wonders around them. read more →

WWIT — Convenience Kills!

I didn’t need a crystal ball to see the end of the architecture profession. Technology and outsourcing routinely undermine “old” professions while sustaining others. What was I thinking (WWIT) when email communications killed the fax machine? I thought, “I like the convenience so I’ll gladly use email.” What was I thinking when website sales threatened traditional retail outlets? I thought, “I like the convenience so I’ll shop online.” What was I thinking when streaming technology obliterated video rental? I thought, “I like the convenience so I’ll stream media.” None of those transformations occurred suddenly. A consumer’s desire to control — On Demand as the industry calls it — slowly transplanted the antiquated technology. Likewise the consumer’s desire for convenience telegraphed the end of the architecture profession. What was I thinking as I watched architecture die? 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 →

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 →

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 →