I think my blog will just become an avenue to re-blog Lee’s posts… once again, another great post!

think | architect

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Over the years I have worked with many clients on the purchase of land for a new house or someone looking to build a commercial building. At some point I’ll have a follow up post that deals with the purchase of a commercial building, but today our focus is just on land, dirt, acreage, a place to call home. It could also be adapted for commercial use.

As I have worked with many people as well as my own family’s search for land in the building of our own home, I organized the many questions and considerations into five categories with additional questions within each category. It’s now time to share this information hoping it will somehow help you or your clients. It’s a living document, so as other questions arise or as you share with us, I’ll keep updating it as we go.

1. Personal: What is your gut…

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My goal at the beginning of 2014 was to gain more exposure for Architect’s Trace and reduce time spent on social media. Seems like a contradictory goal, but I know it can be done… I just took it to an extreme the second half of 2014. There were 23 new posts and 72 images uploaded on Architect’s Trace in 2014. In 2013 there were 41 new posts and 145 images uploaded. While the posts/ images are down for 2014, I attribute that to those being so awesome that I had to re-post them in 2014 as well as more quality posts!

I no longer look at myself as The Poster, I consider myself a blogger now. However, I’m still not sure what that means. Do I offer T-Shirts? Do I ‘sell’ something? Do I create a podcast? I’m not sure. A major benefit of writing this blog is the dialogue with peers and friendships that have come about as such. I’ve even done some consulting work with those ‘met’ online. However, it’s the dialogue fostered and conversations had that are far more valuable to me than the actual post that sparked such. I use this blog as a creative outlet for myself and to educate as to what it is we architect’s do and how we do it- hopefully for 2015 I will continue such.

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The friendly stats helper interns (yes you’re still an intern no matter what AIA/ NCARB say and that’s okay… deal with it) at WordPress prepared a 2014 annual report for Architect’s Trace blog. I’ll admit that I don’t pay much attention to the stats of my blog, but it’s clear that I’ve out-performed last year’s.

An excerpt from the interns report:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 30,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 11 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

I think they could pack twice as many people into the opera house if Frank Gehry did a spoken word performance comprised of “98%… modern architecture… shit” and flipped off the audience over and over. The number of performances could then be cut to 6 to equal the number of my 2014 blog viewers. I’m good with Architect’s Trace headlining the Sydney Opera house…however, I’d like to go on prior to Frank pissing everyone off… wait, what… okay I got off on a tangent there. Compared to the 30,000 views in 2013, that’s a 200% increase- I’m proud of that number!

 

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Click the link to learn more about the Sydney Opera House

A few more intern provided facts about Architect’s Trace:

Busiest Day was January 16th with 2,975 views. The most popular post that day was SketchUp 101 Wait, 2,975 views? That’s about 10% of my total views for the year, not sure how that happened but I’ll take it! While awesome, it boggles me and I need to figure out how to re-create and maintain such viewership… perhaps I should consider more ‘how to’ SketchUp posts.

Visitors came from 162 different countries, up 31 countries from 2013, BOOM! This was the year I cracked into Papua New Guinea, Iceland heard me last year and I’ve got 4 followers from there as well! Most visitors came from The United States. India and the U.K. were not far behind… must’ve been all the business cards I ‘lost’ while travelling in London last year. I’ve always wanted to visit Italy, seems I have 611 people I can ask lodging from, someone’s got to yes.

Top 5 Posts of 2014 were 1) SketchUp 101 2) Dear Architects, I am sick of your shit 3) ArchitecTypes- what kind of architect are you? part 1 of 4 4) What an Architect Does 5) Design Process 103- Design Development. There were some good posts in 2014 and the most read posts discussed how and what we architects do. These posts have been read by both potential clients and fellow architects. I’d like to think that I’m educating others on the architecture profession and not just taking up bandwidth.

1280px-Gehry_House_-_Image01Click the link to learn more about Frank Gehry

I don’t ask anything from my readers, however, for 2015 I’d ask that if you don’t already write a blog, write one. Write about your passions, your personal life, anything that interests you. The people you’ll engage with and discussions that follow will far outweigh any fears you may have about writing a blog. Don’t wait start a blog, in the words of Dr. Seuss:

“You can get so confused
that you’ll start in to race
down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace
and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space,
headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
The Waiting Place…”

I’d like to specifically thank Lee Calisti, author of think | architect, Marica McKeel, author of The Architect’s Notebook, and Mark LePage of Entrepreneur Architect, they were my top referring sites for 2014, thank you! If you’re not already following Lee, Marica, and Mark you should be, they each have great blogs! In fact, I re-blog many of Lee’s posts, he’s smarter than me and can explain things much clearer than I. Architect’s Trace was also found by people searching for ‘B-Vent,’ I’m not sure what to think of that so that’s all I’ll say.

My main goal of this blog is to trace my experiences as an architect- how it a/effects me, my design ideologies, the built environ, and all I encounter. Hopefully, others along a similar path, or those just curious about architects/architecture, can benefit from my trace(s). Along the way this blog as become more than me being an architect and architecture. It’s been a vehicle to ‘meet’ others and be part of a larger conversation. It’s been about my trial and tribulations as the best dad ever, trying to be the best husband ever, and well, just being part of the human race. Judging those goals I consider my blog a success!

So what now, a grand re-vamp to the blog? I don’t think so, I’m happy with the blog as it currently stands. Sure, I’d like more exposure and I’ll work on that. This year will be a challenge, I want to gain exposure of Architect’s Trace at the same time I want to reduce time spent on social media- [Dis]Connect. Perhaps a follow up post to clarify my intentions. A new web site is in the works for my firm and how I’ll integrate this blog into the site is yet unknown but a task that will be accomplished.

Of course like all architects, I’d like more work in 2015, but I’d also like to just be happy and content with where I am and how I got here. To my readers, thanks for being part of the journey and if you’re not already following Architect’s Trace, I hope that you do and become part of this Trace, cheers and here’s to a great 2015 and this thing we call Architecture, I mean LIFE!

Design On,

 

think | architect

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Dear architect, how do you get projects? In some way, they all come from referrals.

Dear client, how do you find an architect? In some way, you get a referral.

This is a basic component of our civilized culture. We trust the advice of a friend or family member…simple.

Most of my work comes from one of three referral sources. At least two of them need constant attention. One is the most important because it’s the most personal.

1. Online database and networks – The most common one is the AIA’s “Find an Architect” database. If you’re not an AIA member, well, you’re not on this list. That doesn’t mean the only good architects are AIA members. It’s just fortunate that a way exists (at a price) for people to find member architects and member firms outside of the Yellow Pages. It’s rather impersonal, just a list, but…

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think | architect

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My family and I just returned from a brief vacation. Yes, part of the trip took us to Chicago several weeks after the AIA Convention. Ironically, I was in Chicago twice this year but missed out on the convention and potentially meeting up with new friends. Nevertheless, it was special to share these moments with my family.

Call it a busman’s holiday, but this trip reminded me of an important truth as an architect. Remember the point of view of the user more than the point of view the architect.

I struggle with this since my background is more artistic, making the service end of the business harder to master than for others. In other words, some of the architects reading this are the type of personality where the service end comes easier. I find myself wanting to make pretty things.

Now there’s nothing wrong with that – in fact…

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r | one studio architecture

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There are few holidays that I truly love. Two of them are fairly close together. Memorial Day and Independence Day. There is nothing better than to celebrate the privilege and honor of being a citizen of the greatest country in the world – a place where I and my family are truly free to pursue life, liberty and happiness in whatever form that may be for us.

I hope you all took time off to celebrate that freedom yesterday. I hope even more that you’ll take time every day to celebrate that freedom in small ways. Those that came before us, that sacrificed and fought to establish, preserve and defend that freedom are honored every time we exercise our freedoms.

Today, don’t take yesterday for granted. Our independence isn’t just a one day affair. It’s a daily celebration. God Bless America.

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I don’t get to draw all day. I’m not a cartoon maker. Honestly, I’m getting tired of hearing clients and architects say “Isn’t that great, you/ I get to draw all day and get paid!” I know it’s typically stated flippantly, but we, or at least myself, need to really think about that. That’s not what we do and it’s part of the perception problem that the public has with what we architects do. “Don’t you architects just do some drawings?” No, no we don’t. Now before you get up on your soap box and start calling me out, I admit… I’ve been guilty of stating the same thing. However, I’m making a conscious effort to not say that anymore, it marginalizes what we do. Part of our role as architects is educating the public what it is we really do… we fall short on doing so, I know I do.

We architects get excited about meeting new clients and voicing our thoughts on the design problem and the solutions we have. We prepare awesome drawings that represent the vision for the project, with any luck the client loves them… and… pause…that right there is part of the problem. The problem is quite simple; it’s the ‘awesome drawings’ the client sees. Even worse, if we’ve been good at the design solution, the resultant drawings look effortless and as if that was the only solution. While awesome drawings are… well, awesome, they can also be a detriment. We need to do a better job at explaining the architect’s value to our clients lies well beyond the drawings created… and that we don’t just draw all day.

 

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An architect’s value is lost on the client if they only see the drawings and aren’t fully vetted as to the process/experience that ‘created’ the drawings. It’s the drawings backed by such that instills value. Yes architects draw. However, drawing is part of a larger process of architecture. A process backed with experience and expertise. The process involves problem solving, addressing your needs/wishes/budget/schedule, and complying with local building and zoning codes- all while designing an aesthetically pleasing efficient structure. Architects help you design/discover a structure that works for you and fits your individuality and preferences. The value of an architect’s services is occasionally related directly to cost savings. However, typically our value is in questioning, planning, clarification, detailing, and ‘solidifying’ numerous moving ‘parts’ into a cohesive design- which ultimately results in cost savings to you. This in turn enhances the value we bring to a project. Drawings play a supporting role in the overall process.

Drawings themselves do not bring value to architecture. It’s the due diligence, experience, role of the architect in the design/construction process, and the thought(s) that created the drawings that bring value. Many people seem to be under the impression that drawings are cheap, and they’re right. Drawings themselves are cheap. However, it’s the thought and expertise that ‘back’ drawings created by an architect that’s going to cost. You can have cheap drawings; you’re just not going to get them from me or any other architect who has your best interests in mind. As a client, you need to look past the architect’s drawings and be cognizant of the process that created the drawings. The drawings themselves are cheap, heck I’ll even pay* for the paper myself. What you’re paying for is the architect’s expertise that created those drawings.

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No, I don’t get to draw all day everyday, my typical day looks more like this- Drawing Baths and Architecture. Yes I do get to draw, but my drawings are more than graphic representations. They are a wealth of knowledge and are backed by a solid thought process. Architects offer a service in which drawings are a tool to reach a conclusion… a conclusion that ultimately brings value to your project. Drawings are a product; architects provide a service, a valuable service!

 

Design On,

* Offer only applies when my services are rendered for the project, cannot be combined with any other offers unless Neutra comes back to life and wants to collaborate.