whatcha workin’ on – or variety part 2



Small firm architects like me might often find themselves working on a myriad of projects at any given time and depending on where the firm is located regionally or how one markets themselves, they might find an array of work on the boards at any given time. Some might limit their market to a single building type such as single-family residential or commercial tenant work. Not me.

A couple of years ago I shared a similar story to explain the diversity that I prefer in being a small firm (solo-practitioner) that does not work on an exclusive project for years like one in a large firm might be required to do. In that post, I likened it to not eating the same thing for lunch every day. Maybe some people don’t mind that.

first floor plan cd.jpgToday we revisit this subject; and I’ll share what’s on my plate (or my drawing board). If anyone says, “I heard you were busy,” then you’ll know why. The list below is in order of oldest to newest project (by project number).

  • Single family residential, 2,000 sf – under construction (see my Instagram feed)
  • Addition to retail jewelry store, 1,500 sf – redesigned (due to budget) and submitted for building code plan review last week
  • One story existing occupied retail building façade redesign – construction documents under way…waiting on my structural engineer
  • Tenant fit out projects, 45,000 sf office building – test fits and renovations – on going tenants (nothing active since last month)
  • Single family residential, additions and whole house renovation – construction documents near completion (meeting Thursday with owner and contractor)
  • Single family residential, third floor expansion – feasibility study complete, construction documents underway (sent documents and email yesterday)
  • Two story existing unoccupied building, façade redesign, 11,500 sf – submitted for local HARB review, construction documents underway (HARB review today)
  • Two story existing office building, 10,000 sf – exterior re-cladding sketch studies – (submitted second round of Photoshop image studies to owner yesterday)
  • Three story existing unoccupied mixed use “Main Street” type building, 9,000 sf – concept study to resolve means of egress deficiency (hand sketch studies…this week)
  • One story existing occupied retail building, 12,000 sf – concept studies underway to subdivide into smaller retail spaces (sent sketch diagrams yesterday)

Proposals underway or projects waiting to start

  • One story, 1,200 sf unoccupied building conversation into coffee shop and bakery
  • One story, 6,000 sf new wedding reception rental hall (for 300 people) on a rural site
  • Two story, 4-unit permanent support housing apartment building (update – received word today that project financing is approved – we need to start in mid-June)
  • Three story, 11,700 existing “Main Street” building – feasibility review to renovate or demo and build new

This might sound daunting…that’s because it is.

What might be deceiving is during any given week, energy is only required on a few of these projects as clients are reviewing submissions, engineers are crunching numbers or they’re anxiously waiting for us to develop the project further and they’re not openly pressing me on the status. Yes, that last one…

201 PD.jpg

Projects under construction require regular nurturing, but not every day. Tenant improvement (TI) test fits or project concept studies are often quick, only requiring a day or two of actual work. As anyone can see, we are constantly juggling tasks, bouncing between projects, shifting from one to another throughout a given week. All projects require meetings, all clients are important. Efficiency and productivity is golden; sometimes things just need to get done.

Last week I focused largely on a single project to complete (or nearly complete) the construction documents to the point where I am ready to meet with the client and contractor with only a few remaining details that need to be confirmed with the window manufacturer. That manufacturer is reviewing our work currently – that ball is up in the air.

That means this week I shift to the others. It’s good to be busy…but there’s so much more to it.

One of the hardest parts is being able to resolve design issues and be creative on schedule. I cannot ‘turn on’ my creative side to get the best ideas or most thoughtful resolutions. That happens when it does.

< sigh >

So whatcha workin’ on?

tools 05


whatcha workin’ on – or variety part 2

2 thoughts on “whatcha workin’ on – or variety part 2

  1. My work at present. I’m basically scaled back to a sole practice with a contract CAD drafter.
    here’s my plate: 4500 sq ft house under construction, 3360 sq ft house almost ready to submit, Kitchen remodel ready to submit, Redesign and 1,000 sq ft addition to a house I did in 1984 which burned, Whole house remodel and garage additions, solarium addition, 16 unit senior housing in back check, Complete remodel of existing condo ready to submit, proposal for 11,500 sq ft light industrial project, 26,000 sq ft office and light manufacturing project to start next month, Garage conversion into a Granny Flat, Duplex in planning review. Yep, I’d say I’m busy too.

    Thom Torvend
    Architect C-9656

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