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 →

Talk, Write, Draw — A Com Hat Trick

Pick your challenge. You have to present information to either a) someone who is a blind, or b) someone who is deaf. These extreme conditions seem daunting at first. But every architect practices multiple communication skills to present complex concepts to different types of people every day. read more →

Renewal — Re-Ranch

renovate, remodel, restore, refresh, recondition, refurbish, renewal…re-Ranch. While the definition of most of those words are self-explanatory, the term “Re-Ranch” might make you wonder. Allow me a moment to share the Re-Ranch journey. It begins with a remodel idea that evolved to a rebuild and finally resolved as a different remodel. The Re-Ranch story starts in a small Texas town, with a man named Ray and his wife Becky. read more →

Choices — It’s Everything!

You have to love a buffet. A full buffet offers countless options. You don’t have to know exactly what you want, but you have so many options you can try everything. What a joy to have so many choices. You have to hate a buffet. A full buffet contains so many options it provides no discretion so you overeat attempting to try everything. What a mess to have too many choices. Maybe the best choice is a well-developed menu with the right blend of food and quantity, like the detailed design phase in an architecture project where it’s not too much, but just right. read more →

Eureka! — Things That Suck

Kleenex, Xerox and Coke are marketing terms that are so successful the general public uses the brand name to identify a specific product. It’s common for a consumer to request a Kleenex instead of tissue, a Xerox instead of photocopy and a Coke instead of soda. My family is guilty of the same affliction but our brand/product confusion was the Eureka instead of vacuum. Our ancient Eureka was loud, durable and sucked up everything — dirt, throw rugs, toys and small pets. Nothing sucked like the Eureka. So in our household the Eureka became a synonym for things that suck. 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 →