How often has someone asked you what do you do?
Recently someone asked me “what do I do as an architect.” There is no simple answer to that. Maybe you don’t know what we do. Trying to describe what an architect does is a bit like trying to describe where the beach ends and the ocean begins. Yes, we design, more specifically buildings and environments, but there’s no easy way to draw the line (pun intended) of what we do and don’t do. In fact for me, everyday is different. That’s one of the things I like best.
Now, before you ask “what did you tell the person who asked the question recently, I simply stated I design buildings, but it had more to do with creativity than drafting. (The person was beginning to tell me about their father being a draftsman many years ago and I wasn’t sure how to say I wasn’t a draftsman). Nevertheless, they changed the subject without acknowledging my answer so I guess it didn’t matter. To me I’d rather talk about what I am (as an architect) rather than what I do. However, people generally don’t want to hear about my philosophical and esoteric musings. They just want a simple answer. I suppose we’re not good at that.
I did continue thinking about my answer and I decided it may be easier to take a snapshot of some current projects and tasks to give a glimpse into what an architect does. It’s not an exhaustive answer, but at least it’s real. These are things I did in the past few weeks. Here goes…
1. Sketch design concepts for current renovation project
2. Review building code against design layout
3. Confirm city’s storm water management ordinance and check for exemptions
4. Calculate basic storm water pre and post conditions to confirm exemption
5. Contact building code official to discuss project details
6. Continue to develop construction drawings
7. Coordinate the kitchen equipment layout with the Owner’s requirements
8. Communicate design concept with the mechanical/electrical/plumbing engineer.
9. “Red line” notes and sketches on draft construction drawing set
10. Update floor plans to match updated kitchen layout.
11. Visit the site to take additional photos to send to consultants
12. Update general contractor of design progress
13. Add signage concepts over façade photo for owner’s consideration and approval
14. Pick up prints from copy store
15. Sketch alternate site plan layouts
16. Figure out a place to place and shield the dumpster
17. Talk to owner and consultants on telephone…often
18. Email…everyone important information (communicate frequently)
19. Sketch details for integrating storefront into steel sub-framing
20. Contact utility companies to confirm new service requirements
21. Coordinate photo shoot with photographer
22. Adjust furniture layout in dining area, adjust take-out bar
23. Write proposal for new family room addition
24. Follow up with project leads to confirm if clients are interested
25. Research roof paver details on internet
26. Attend opening night of recently completed bar I designed…(leave early because it was too loud)
27. Update to do list of all active projects and potential projects
28. Review contractor’s application for payment
29. Attend project meeting for project under construction, write meeting minutes of decisions made
30. Meet with client for project consultation and sketch ideas for new addition
31. Review shop drawings for structural steel, doors and hand railings
32. Prepare site plan for planning commission approval
33. Doodle in my sketch book as a means of relaxing
34. Read technical article in trade magazine
35. Update company financial “books” in preparation of paying quarterly taxes
What did you do today?