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Lonely Mentor

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Lonely Mentor

Howdy, It has been a while since we published a post around here, but it is time once again for an #Architalks blog post. For those of you who don’t already know, Architalks is a monthly (I sometimes miss a month or two) coordinated blog post. A fair amount of Architectural type people from around the globe write on the same topic at the same time. This month's topic is “mentorship”. Take a look at the end of the post for links to a lot of other really great thoughts on what mentorship means to architects.

First, I want to give a little bit of background for anyone who doesn’t know the full bureaucracy that needs to be penetrated to become a licensed architect. After going to college for some number of years, (for me it was some number plus a few) would be architects then go get a job in a firm where they begin to learn a lot more about what architects do day to day. Here is a little hint, there is a lot paperwork. In this time after college and before getting licensed dutiful candidates are highly encouraged to get a “mentor”. Having never been one for formality (and I thought it would be a strange conversation) I never walked up to a person and said

“Will you be my mentor?”

Maybe I missed out on something by not creating this more formal arrangement, but until I talk to the me in an almost parallel universe that did ask for a mentor I will never know.

All of that said, I have had, and still have, many folks who teach me about what it means to be a good architect and a good human, at least for now I don’t think the two are mutually exclusive. I started to write a list of different folks who have taught me valuable lessons, but the list was getting too long and I am sure I was forgetting people. So I will just say that there have been many who have taught me about how buildings are built, how to make sure that the architect and contractor are on the same team, and how sometimes you have to swallow your pride and admit that you have made a mistake and start figuring out how to resolve it.

Now a days I am making my way as a sole practitioner with a home office, but most of my life in architecture has been in pretty decent sized firms. Now some days the SOLE is more solitary than others. In getting mentally prepped to write this post I have been reminded how I miss those informal mentor relationships. There isn’t someone I can turn around to and discuss the intricacies of a particular flashing detail. My family loves me, but they REALLY hate discussing the building code. In fact, most of the time their eyes glaze over and I don’t even think they are listening. But I also miss the other side of the coin. I enjoy teaching, not enough to try and be a professor or anything, but kinda the mentor type of teaching. In the last firm I worked I had become someone who could be asked regarding software questions, and I normally had an answer. It was nice to help.

After searching and thinking about mentorship for this topic I have determined that in my current stage I need to make a lot more active effort to put myself in a position to be a mentor and to be mentored. I don't know exactly how that will play out (probably not asking "won't you be my mentor"), but I know that it is my responsibility to make sure that I won't be a lonely mentor.

Bob Borson - Life of An Architect (@bobborson)
This is NOT Mentorship

Marica McKeel - Studio MM (@ArchitectMM)
ArchiTalks: Mentorship

Jeff Echols - Architect Of The Internet (@Jeff_Echols)
Mentors, Millennials and the Boomer Cliff

Mark R. LePage - EntreArchitect (@EntreArchitect)
Influence

Lora Teagarden - L² Design, LLC (@L2DesignLLC)
ArchiTalks: Mentorship

Collier Ward - One More Story (@BuildingContent)
Mentorship

Jeremiah Russell, AIA - ROGUE Architecture (@rogue_architect)
teach them the way they should go: #architalks

Eric T. Faulkner - Rock Talk (@wishingrockhome)
Bad Mentor, Good Mentor

Stephen Ramos - BUILDINGS ARE COOL (@sramos_BAC)
The Top 3 Benefits for Architects to Mentor and to be Mentored

Brian Paletz - The Emerging Architect (@bpaletz)
I've got a lot to learn

Emily Grandstaff-Rice - Emily Grandstaff-Rice FAIA (@egrfaia)
Gurus, Swamis, and Other Architectural Guides

Jeffrey Pelletier - Board & Vellum (@boardandvellum)
Mentoring with Anecdotes vs. Creating a Culture of Trust

Samantha R. Markham - The Aspiring Architect (@TheAspiringArch)
Why every Aspiring Architect needs SCARs

Nisha Kandiah - ArchiDragon (@ArchiDragon)
Mentorship : mend or end ?

Keith Palma - Architect's Trace (@cogitatedesign)
Mentor5hip is...

Jim Mehaffey - Yeoman Architect (@jamesmehaffey)
My Mentor

Tim Ung - Journey of an Architect (@timothy_ung)
5 Mentors that are in my life

Mark Stephens - Mark Stephens Architects (@architectmark)
Mentorship

Gabriela Baierle-Atwood - Gabriela Baierle-Atwood (@gabrielabaierle)
On Mentorship

Ilaria Marani - Creative Aptitude (@creaptitude)
Mentorship

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A Rose By Any Other Name

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A Rose By Any Other Name

It is time for another #archispeaks blog post. This month’s topic, House or Home, was selected by Keith Palma at Cogitate Design. There are a bunch of different architects that have written a little post about this same topic. Check out the links at the bottom of the page to read some different perspectives.

My immediate reaction when I saw this topic was, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” This might be due to the fact that the first flowers of spring have just arrived in my yard and I have had pollen on my nose for a couple of days. But it also might be because, as I have mentioned before on this blog, di’velept is rooted in a rural upbringing, and this topic just seems like semantics. It doesn't matter to us whether you call it a house, a home, a residence, a pad, or a crib; as long as you are comfortable.

BUT…

Finding YOUR way to be comfortable is often much harder than it first appears. With all of the different home renovation shows and the constant barrage of commercials showing the next cool thing it seems like it should be simple to create a dream home. But as we all know there is not much reality in reality TV. Your search for a comfortable place to hang your hat will most likely be more drawn out and messy. As a general rule it is going to take a couple of months from our first hello until we have went through all of the different potential designs to find a final configuration that really is your perfect fit. But it is a journey that is worth taking. Living in a space that is configured to your styles and way of thinking about the world will affect your outlook on life. 

Perhaps it is the beautiful spring weather or maybe it is the change to daylight savings, but it seem that time for this post has run out, so this post is going to be really short and sweet.

Hopefully you have a minute to check out some of the contributors below.


Bob Borson - Life of An Architect (@bobborson)
The Designation between House and Home

Marica McKeel - Studio MM (@ArchitectMM)
ArchiTalks: House or Home?

Jeff Echols - Architect Of The Internet (@Jeff_Echols)
House or Home? The Answer to Everything

Lee Calisti, AIA - Think Architect (@LeeCalisti)
our house is home

Mark R. LePage - EntreArchitect (@EntreArchitect)
Emotional Marketing for Architects: House or Home?

Lora Teagarden - L² Design, LLC (@L2DesignLLC)
House or Home? It's in the story.

Collier Ward - One More Story (@BuildingContent)
House or Home? A Choice of Terms

Jeremiah Russell, AIA - ROGUE Architecture (@rogue_architect)
house or home: #architalks

Eric T. Faulkner - Rock Talk (@wishingrockhome)
House or Home -- Discover the Difference

Michele Grace Hottel - Michele Grace Hottel, Architect (@mghottel)
"house" or "home"?

Meghana Joshi - IRA Consultants, LLC (@MeghanaIRA)
Architalks #24 : House or Home

Brian Paletz - The Emerging Architect (@bpaletz)
House or Home? - Depends

Michael LaValley - Evolving Architect (@archivalley)
House or Home? Train for One, Design for Another

Greg Croft - Sage Leaf Group (@croft_gregory)
House or Home

Jeffrey Pelletier - Board & Vellum (@boardandvellum)
Designing a House into a Home

Samantha R. Markham - The Aspiring Architect (@TheAspiringArch)
6 Ways to Make your Architecture Studio feel like Home

Kyu Young Kim - J&K Atelier (@sokokyu)
Making a House a Home

Nisha Kandiah - ArchiDragon (@ArchiDragon)
Dwelling on a Macro scale

Rusty Long - Rusty Long, Architect (@rustylong)
House or Home

Keith Palma - Architect's Trace (@cogitatedesign)
I don't design homes

Jim Mehaffey - Yeoman Architect (@jamesmehaffey)
House or Home: One's a Place, the Other a Feeling.

Tim Ung - Journey of an Architect (@timothy_ung)
Architalks - A House is not a home

Mark Stephens - Mark Stephens Architects (@architectmark)
#ArchiTalks #24 House or Home? #RefugeeCrisis @GrainneHassett mentioned

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What's Your Style?

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What's Your Style?

What’s your style? Very few questions elicit the same angst for this architect. Even to write the word sends shivers down my spine.

This month's #architalks topic is “style”. If you didn’t already know, Architalks is a group of coordinated blog posts. There are a bunch of incredibly talented architects that each write their thoughts about a specific topic.  It is amazing to see the variety of thought that exists among architects. Check out the links at the bottom of the post to read some of the other thoughts on this topic.

I have been asked “what is your style?” many times. The honest answer is I don't know. Maybe it is because (in architect years) I am young. Many architects don't really have a personal style until near the end of their career. It also might be because I really don't like to apply labels. Especially self applied labels. Labels have the power to remove all of the nuance from a project. Any they also just tend to be another piece of jargon.

Far and away the most confusing style label is “modern”. Strangely “modern design” was a self determined label from nearly 50+ years ago. But, at the same time, the actual definition of the word is “relates to the present time”. So the more time that passes the less modem “modern architecture” becomes. Really strange. Among the intelligentsia the word used for present architecture is “contemporary”. Hopefully that word always means current and at some time in the future people with the benefits of hindsight can apply a label to early 21st century design, if they must.

When forced to think about style  (like for this post) my definition for style is a group of buildings that have responded to similar context in a similar way. The Native American teepee was what it was because there were thousands of factors that dictated it be exactly that. I love learning about the unique conditions that caused a particular set of design responses to evolve. The origins of style are almost always rooted in the environment where the style originated. From there inevitably culture and fashion coop the aesthetic. Then after the passage of time you are left with a style.

All of this is just a really long (and soapboxy) way to say that when we, at di’velept, place a significantly higher premium on responding to environmental and programmatic factors than on achieving a specific style. There is serious beauty in simply solving the those difficult problems.


Now, take a few minutes to check out some of these other posts on style. I am sure they are going to be great.

Bob Borson - Life of An Architect (@bobborson)
http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com/style-do-i-have-any/

Lee Calisti, AIA - Think Architect (@LeeCalisti)
style...final words

Lora Teagarden - L² Design, LLC (@L2DesignLLC)
The AREsketches Style

Collier Ward - One More Story (@BuildingContent)
Good Artists Copy; Great Artists Steal

Eric T. Faulkner - Rock Talk (@wishingrockhome)
Name That Stile!

Michele Grace Hottel - Michele Grace Hottel, Architect (@mghottel)
Style

brady ernst - Soapbox Architect (@bradyernstAIA)
What Style Do You Build In?

Brian Paletz - The Emerging Architect (@bpaletz)
You do you

Michael LaValley - Evolving Architect (@archivalley)
Defining an Architect's Style

Greg Croft - Sage Leaf Group (@croft_gregory)
Architectural Style

Jeffrey Pelletier - Board & Vellum (@boardandvellum)
Should You Pick Your Architect Based on Style or Service?

Samantha R. Markham - The Aspiring Architect (@TheAspiringArch)
5 Styles of an Aspiring Architect

Kyu Young Kim - J&K Architects Atelier (@sokokyu)
Loaded With Style

Nisha Kandiah - ArchiDragon (@ArchiDragon)
Regression or Evolution : Style

Keith Palma - Architect's Trace (@cogitatedesign)
Stylized Hatred

Jim Mehaffey - Yeoman Architect (@jamesmehaffey)
What's in a Style?

Mark Stephens - Mark Stephens Architects (@architectmark)
Architectalks 23 - Style

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The Joy of Being an Architect

It is time for another installment of #architalks. Architalks is a blog series where a group of architect bloggers do a coordinated post on a specific topic. Architalks is the brainchild of Bob Borson, if you haven't already, you should read his page at lifeofanarchitect.com, it is amazing. This is the 22nd post in the series, so by now you would think that we should all be getting the hang of this. Check out all of the links at the bottom of the page to see if that is true. If nothing else you will get a really good cross section of thoughts on a particular topic.

This time around we are all giving a little perspective on what we thought practicing architecture would be like when we got done with college vs. the reality of practice. I am not a psychic, but I am pretty sure that there will be a lot of people who are going to say that the art of actual practice is tremendously different than they thought it was going to be at the end of architecture school. I know that is what I am going to be talking about.

First of all, I have got to say “I loved architecture school.” And I was decent at it. The hope that is inherent in the first steps of turning an abstract thought into a design really filled my bucket, so to speak. I loved, and still love, talking about design concepts and if a specific choice is reinforcing the overall concept. Another of the things that I really loved was seeing the vastly different approaches that could come from the same set of problems. All that said, when I was finishing college I really stood at a fork in the road. I had high interest in creating renderings and living mostly in the digital world, but I also wanted to be able to see my ideas get built. In the end I decided that I could go the route to becoming a licensed architect and if I didn’t like it switching to visualization could happen easily. But if I went the rendering route it would be really hard to transition back to the architect path.

So…

I chose to go the architect path, and almost nine years later I am glad that I did. When leaving school I knew that there was a lot more to architecture than just the pretty pictures and big ideas of college, but what I didn’t realize is that (at least in the ways I have practiced) those things are a very small part of my work. For a lot of my career I was a small cog in a big machine that was focused on designing schools. The schools were well built, award winning projects, but for the most part we were focused on budget and program, having an overall unifying theme that was imbued within the building was not discussed.

Even on the projects where “design” (like I thought about design in college) was a high priority, it still is only 5-10 percent of the work that goes into making a coordinated set of drawing from which a building can be constructed. In the modern world the actual role of “master builder” doesn’t exist (if it ever did), but I get more satisfaction out of my work when I am immersed in the complexities of a project. Knowing how the ducts are going to go from one area to the next, while staying hidden, it just as important as the color of the brick, maybe more.

So, how is practice different than I thought it would be when I finished college? To be honest it is about exactly the opposite of what I thought it was going to be. I used to think it was going to be 95% design-work 5% work-work. After a few years of reviewing submittals, answering RFIs, and talking about duct pathing I realize that it is more like 95% work-work 5% design-work. But it is also way more enjoyable than I thought it would be.

I can think of very few things that are more gratifying that walking into a space that had its kernel of beginning in my head, and a lot of that joy comes from being a part of the immense journey that has transpired from the time that idea was born until it is a finished space. There are countless, seemingly small, decisions that need to happen for the little vision to become a heated, cooled, lighted, structurally sound moment for people to enjoy for many years to come.

Please take a minute to review the other architalk posts and see how everyone else has fared on the perception vs the reality of practicing architecture.


Bob Borson - Life of An Architect (@bobborson)
http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com/then-and-now-architectural-design-or-accounting/

Matthew Stanfield - FiELD9: architecture (@FiELD9arch)
Where It All Went Right

Marica McKeel - Studio MM (@ArchitectMM)
From Then to Now...Residential Architect

Jeff Echols - Architect Of The Internet (@Jeff_Echols)
Well, How Did I Get Here

Mark R. LePage - EntreArchitect (@EntreArchitect)
The Biggest Surprise of My Life as an Architect

Lora Teagarden - L² Design, LLC (@L2DesignLLC)
Then & Now...and the middle

Nicholas Renard - Renard Architecture (@dig-arch)
15 Years of Architecture

Jeremiah Russell, AIA - ROGUE Architecture (@rogue_architect)
then and now: #architalks

Eric T. Faulkner - Rock Talk (@wishingrockhome)
Then-

Stephen Ramos - BUILDINGS ARE COOL (@sramos_BAC)
Big Ass Buildings

brady ernst - Soapbox Architect (@bradyernstAIA)
Pens & Fizzy Drinks: Or How to Set Measurable Career Goals

Brian Paletz - The Emerging Architect (@bpaletz)
How did I get here?

Michael LaValley - Evolving Architect (@archivalley)
Reflection on My Wonderful, Unexpected Career

Emily Grandstaff-Rice - Emily Grandstaff-Rice FAIA (@egrfaia)
Being the light in darkness

Anthony Richardson - That Architecture Student (@thatarchstudent)
Then and Now

Kyu Young Kim - Palo Alto Design Studio (@sokokyu)
Career Path: Follow Your Heart

Nisha Kandiah - TCDS (@SKRIBBLES_INC)
Then & Now : Still Chasing the Dream

Jim Mehaffey - Yeoman Architect (@jamesmehaffey)
The Reluctant Code Guru

Tim Ung - Journey of an Architect (@timothy_ung)
10 Lessons Learned from a Young Architect

Mark Stephens - Mark Stephens Architects (@architectmark)
#Architalks 22 - Then and now

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...and the liven's easy

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...and the liven's easy

Summertime and the liven's easy. Except this summer, when the liven’s been BUSY. If you have been following along you will know that this is the first di’velept post in quite a while.

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