Do you remember back in school when you went to your studio and were given some sort of amazing project to work on? Ok, maybe at the time it didn’t feel so amazing, but whatever it was, you were supposed to study and research the bageeziz out of it until you could rationalize every single decision you made. Toiling over the minutest of details hoping that everyone would see the genius that had evolved. You would present your solution and after a couple days of rest, since you had pulled quite a few all-nighters right there at the end, you would happily move on to the next project knowing that everything that could have been done on the last one was. Yeah….. Then I actually started working at firm and realized that nice progression from one project to the next isn’t even close.
Like most architects I have quite a few projects going on, all of them in completely different stages in our office. A couple of months ago I went to the grand opening of a project I had been working on since 2014. With commercial architecture, a lot of the time the owner likes to have a big shindig when the project is finally ready to open its doors to the public.
The building was filled with food, people, and music. It seemed like everyone that was going to use the new space really liked everything. Yes, I still went through the space looking at things that could have been done better or what I forgot to detail. Focus, there is a party going on… I got in the elevator to take a look at level 3 and I noticed a sign they had placed in it that read “No one allowed on level 3 unless accompanied by a staff member.” Wait, just a week before I had free reign of the entire building and now I am being locked out of certain areas? I guess the transition from project site to owner’s place of employment was complete. I’m going to admit, it’s a little saddening. Letting go (actually having it completely ripped from my hands) of that freedom to roam anywhere you please at a project is tough. Well, back to the office. I have other projects that need my attention.
Especially this one… I’ve been working on a small remodel project, about 750 square feet. Small… well at least compared to the projects I normally work on. But by no means does that mean it hasn’t been full of design and construction challenges. In fact I think that because it is so small, we have had to be even more creative in some of the things we have had to do. On the other hand, it also means that every decision that is made is front and center for everyone to see. Yikes!! You know what, not yikes, this place is going to be awesome. I’ve had to keep this one under wraps for a while as they want the opening to be a surprise unveiling to everyone.
It’s been a flurry of activity the last couple of weeks trying to get everything done, but as it all comes together, it really is amazing to see. Everyone at the office that worked on the project got an e-mail notice that the opening was about to happen, and they wanted us all there. What I wasn’t expecting to see was a Facebook invitation to basically anyone on social media. Oh wow, they really want people to show up. Last I heard they are shutting down the street and inviting the mayor to come speak about it. Really?!?! Did I mention it is only about 750 square feet. I’m about to go through that whole process again. This project has been in the office since early in 2015, and I have been involved in it from the beginning. Now I am about to have to let it go. Is this just a glimpse of what it feels like when your kids start driving, when they go off to college? I am definitely not ready for that yet. They are having a party though, yeah I’ll be there. I’m going to have to write a post about this project by itself. It has definitely been a journey watching it evolve into what it is now. Come out and see it if you are in the area.
Before I get to go the party though, you guessed it… back to the office. I have another project that all of the drawings just went out the door. The owner is trying to get their permit from the city and a final cost from the various contractors they sent it to. Now we are in the process of answering questions from the contractors about it.
This time around, it has actually been pretty easy. I had some really good help in our office helping me put all of the drawings together and organizing the questions so we can respond easier. It makes it easier when you work at an office that has people that are really good at certain things and continuously want to get better at other things. Oh and did I forget to mention that I have 3 other projects that I am directly involved in. Number one has just started back up after a couple months break. We went round and round with the design and the overall project budget figuring what we could do to make the project work.
Funny thing is, after only a couple of changes, we ended up pretty close back to where we started, and are actually close enough to the budget that the owner has given us the go ahead. It’s a pretty cool concept that should turn into a really great project. The key will be to keep that original idea alive through the entire process. Number 2 is sitting over at the developer waiting for them to decide if they want to move forward. And number 3… that one just walked over to my desk a couple of days ago, and is strictly a figure out how to make it work and draw it kind of deal. And wouldn’t you know it has plenty of tricky complications being an addition to an existing building.
Ahhh, the workflow of an architect….. Definitely not a linear one. Ok, I think I need to get back to work. Where is the fire I need to put out today?