Don’t take this post the wrong way, but I’ve been thinking recently about the myriad of tasks that we do as architects. There is so much more to do than simply “making drawings.” In fact I spend little time “making drawings” with respect to the time it takes for the thought and research to know what to put on paper with confidence. My intention is not to be impolite or insolent with my later statements. This stuff just has to come out of my head or I have to listen to it alone.
Since this is a business and a service, we must be efficient, meet deadlines and provide courteous responses. Now for those of you who can afford to “dabble” in architecture regardless of whether you get paid or not, I’m sorry to break it to you. Tasks must get done promptly and they must get done well at the same time.
I’ve found that being thorough is more important than being quick.
Yet, there are still people, clients, contractors, whomever out there that just want it quickly or they’ll try to find someone who will (say they can) do it. Architecture is intended to outlive us so let’s do it well. Here are a few questions that are frequently asked related to time and completing a task/project. By the way, I know what you are really thinking when you ask these questions. Clients have every right to expect progress and a reasonable completion date, but may I ask for a little patience?
- What is your time frame to complete this project?
- What is the progress of our project?
- Why is it taking so long?
- Since you use computers, doesn’t that make your work quicker?
- Doesn’t that CAD program do most of the work for you?
I’ve heard that some of you architects out there “spit out” drawings quickly and leave important information off of them. They also show a lack of thought or development. You may have your reasons, you may not. Please stop that regardless.
Architecture is something that people enjoy when you get it right. Really, they do. Actually they expect it, but hurry it up already? Getting architecture right is not just seeing that it doesn’t fall down or leak or melt after the first rain storm. It is a discipline that takes thought, consideration, testing and research.
It actually takes rigor. My favorite quote with respect to this is “architecture is never done, it is just due.”
Oftentimes we as architects only know that we don’t know what we don’t know. We don’t just sit down and “draw up some plans.” Each project has its own set of issues and items to resolve. The technical issues are often the least difficult to resolve but if you don’t know how design works it is often difficult to explain the process. Design solutions come by part inspiration and part work…mostly work.
Work takes time, so it’s going to be a few more days until we finish your project.
photos are from two photostreams on Flickr (used under the Creative Common License)