Weight Loss for Architects…

I often sit at my desk wondering how few calories I might be burning by doing such strenuous things as shifting my weight in my chair, typing intently or clicking my mouse, or walking to the fridge to get another diet 7-up (yes, I drink diet 7-up and it is crisp, clean and refreshing just like the can says).  Some days, when I am working a deadline and the phone is ringing off the hook with CA questions, my blood pressure might rise slightly under the stress and therefore I like to think that on those days I might approach burning a few bites of the sandwich I bought for lunch.  I try to run, keep up a good exercise routine of some sort, at least in the effort to decompress the bulging disks I am undoubtedly creating in my ever compressing spine.  But 5:00 or later comes around and I am hungry again because it’s dinnertime, not because my body is feeling devoid of calories in any way, and going for a run seems to delay eating again far too late into the evening.  Certainly, after my exhausting day of no physical movement whatsoever, you can’t ask me to go for a run too – it’s madness!

I recently read an article that said sitting for 8-10 or more hours a day will do irreparable damage to your body and essentially cause you to die earlier.  It also said that the results of sitting for that long and the atrophy that takes place cannot even come close to being counteracted by even 1-hour of exercise a day.  I feel like that author may be a little fatalistic and perhaps biased by the ever-increasing trend of people who think we should make time in our day to exercise for “health” reasons.  These people are clearly not architects.  Architects manage their weight by eating very little, usually in small panicked snacks between calls and ftp uploads.  We cannot be bothered with full meals and therefore calorie intake remains relatively low.  For our consultants reading this blog, it’s important to note that lack of food intake results in low blood sugar which inevitably results in crankiness and lashing out at anyone who offers criticism or additional work load.  So, when we yell at you on the phone and insinuate that you are a moron, please understand that it is just the blood sugar talking.  We are, in fact, pleasant people and when given the time to eat a well-managed diet we can be readily coaxed into cooperation and seeing another’s point of view.  So in honor of this post, I suggest that we all consider living in the Jakub Szczęsny’s Keret House design below.  It will force us all into a diet because who wants to sleep outside in a cardboard box because they were too fat to fit into their house?  The whole neighborhood would know if you had to loosen your belt just a little.  Also, get rid of your car and start walking (which will help with the weight loss issue) because there is no room for it here.  Happy dieting!






Images courtesy of  Centrala


Landscape architects and their squiggly lines….

I like landscape architects, really I do.  They draw cool trees and have the ability to make prismacolor markers and pencils work for them in a way that I don’t think is natural.  I envy their squiggly line bushes in plan, with cute little dots in the middle.  Everything I know about drawing shrubbery I learned from them.  I also deeply envy their ability to use the sandbox tool in Sketch-up, but I feel that I have the upper hand in the industry owing to my being paid a few pennies more and that I use Revit everyday and they still can’t make the technological jump.

I often feel bad for them, wasting away in AutoCAD land, making corrections to every sheet, every time they change something.  For those of you still using CAD on a daily basis, please let me extend my deepest sympathies…I don’t mean to be a jerk, but it really is a colossal waste of time.  Hold a yard sale or company bake sale, sell lemonade or your first born child and get you some Revit love.  It has an unbelievable learning curve that will have you begging for your beloved CAD tools, but then suddenly you have that technological and learning breakthrough and you become a bonafide Revit user.  And you will never go back.  I am not saying Revit replaces all the strong points of CAD, but its way better.  I am digressing.

Back to landscape architects.  There is one issue I feel I need to take with them universally: CAD exploded squiggly lines.  Guys, please help me out here.  I had to open your CAD drawing today to place an existing building that I was drafting on a site plan in Revit and my eyes almost exploded.  I know you deal with the organic on a regular basis.  I know your work has an ethereal sketchy quality that we all envy; but, walls are straight lines and rarely make those miniscule dog leg jogs that you love to imbed in your polylines.  Also, use polylines, use them please, and when making a rather long strand of one, please attempt to use a more continuous length and not a million little lines that make it appear that you are battling the first stages of Parkinson’s with your mouse.  And, PLEASE do not explode the lines!

Other than that, you have beautiful drawings.  Thank you for placing that septic tank on the site plan and being able to read civil drawings without a decoder ring.  And as always, thank you for your cool circle and dot trees!

A brief word on shop drawings…

Okay people, a brief word on shop drawings:  These are the number one perpetuators of architecture disallusionment.  If there was one thing no one mentions to students as they learn to be architects in their messy and esoteric studios, it’s shop drawings.  And I understand why.  If we told students that they would be spending hours of their life combing specifications and corresponding by written material to their contractors and subcontractors on every little detail of their building, kids would be leaving this industry in droves before they even got into it.  Sometimes I open a shop drawing and I have no idea what I am looking at.  Furthermore, I have even less motivation to figure it out, or look at my drawings to confirm it, or search through the specifications to see if the color of the basketball backboard was one of the several we specified as appropriate.  Also, if you are not a specified manufacturer and you were not involved in a request for substitution, I am not even going to look at your crap.  Its gonna get sent back until you go through the proper channels…primarily because not reviewing your submittal saves me time and, even more importantly, my precious effort. 

I am not bitter, I am just saying – no one told you this was going to happen to your life.  Secretly, I like reviewing all the work and making sure people get it right.  Maybe its a power trip, I can’t say.  Maybe its restitution on a long and difficult project and you feel the need to stick it to someone with a phrase like:

 “I am sure this is a fine product, but exactly which penetrations is it proposed to be used for….You can’t just fill every penetration universally with this product and maintain the fire-rated resistance requirement of the wall or floor being penetrated.” 

 I’m just saying, that’s all.  So if you are spending your days reviewing shop drawings, I feel for you and I am sorry that this post was not longer to effectively waste more of your time.

Quote of the Day…from my client…


“Can you tell me what future, unforseen and unanticipated costs there might be here?”

– Client meeting today; names are not mentioned to protect the unintelligent.

Office Playgrounds…


Okay, so I have been conspicuously absent the last week…I probably should have warned everyone I was on vacation.  And in light of my week of playing hooky I returned to work yesterday to shop drawings and LEED submittals; FYI LEED online is a laborious pain in the keester and I will soon be posting about a glorious new possibility that has the potential to replace LEED, or so Architectural Record says.  And we all know that what happens in Architectural Record stays in Architectural Record.  I digress.

But because offices lack that “je ne sais quoi” that embodies the vacation spirit, I am proposing that more offices should offer naptimes and playgrounds.  Google and Facebook have it right.  An adult sized jungle gym never hurt anyone and seriously, if you are reading this blog right now at 11:17am EST in the United States then productivity and billable time are not your main concerns in life either.  So, below is an installation NET by Numen/For Use (creators Sven Jonke, Christoph Katzler and Nikola Radeljkovic) that was created for the Belgian gallery Z33 and I propose that every firm has this installed in the breakroom.  It is exercise, fun and ridiculousness all rolled into one web.  Bring your Spiderman costume and have a great time.








Images courtesy of ForUse, Z33 and Dezeen


Happy Monday, err, Tuesday…

Well good morning sunshine!  By now, you are making your way to the office after a weekend of independence celebrations…if you are American, if not, then it’s just Tuesday for you.  But for us Americans, it’s been a long weekend full of overeating and watching pyrotechnics.  No doubt many of you are heading into the office this morning feeling a little hung over or generally foggy from your food coma after a weekend of too much grilling.  I like the way comedian Jim Gaffigan puts it:

“I usually don’t have a burger, a brat, and a steak but, it is 4th of July. And I need the energy if I’m gonna start blowin crap up. It’s what the founding fathers would want.””

We Americans do like to celebrate by finding ways to eat and drink way too much.  So as you are undoubtedly picking up a coffee this morning to help you get through the day after a long weekend, let me provide you some eye candy for a cafe in Japan that practically screams efficiency and embodies the idea of drive through.  This is by Suppose Design Office, who I like and who usually does really high brow work, so this cafe called Cafe/day is kind of a funny departure from their norm.  Also, to lighten your mood, it is Tuesday, even though it feels like Monday, and that means you are actually one day closer to the next weekend than your brain thinks.  Brain tricks…..so wonderful….











Images courtesy of Suppose Design Office

Quote of the Day…

“Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else.”

– Margaret Mead

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