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Help in construction for a lost architect!!!

MarkisA

Dear all,

I'm 29 years old and have been working as an architect for few years. I've been jumping from to another every few months as I reach a clashing point with my boss everytime as I'm a great designer but rubbish at construction details or even understanding construction frames or construction in general. I would appreciate if anyone could recommend the right path to learn so. Books, online sessions,...etc. 

Currently I can't afford to enroll in construction classes nor are they offered separately where I'm living so this won't be a viable option for me.

Thank you for reading my post and sorry for any inconvenience. 

 
Apr 11, 18 11:35 am
joseffischer

ummm... stop clashing with your superiors who know about construction and listen to them?

Apr 11, 18 11:40 am  · 
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“””1991”

you must not be so “great” if you don’t understand construction. 


I’m assuming you’re working somewhere where as soon as you graduate you’re an “architect”. 


If you keep jumping ship every couple of months maybe your the problem not everyone else. 



Apr 11, 18 11:40 am  · 
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randomised

I recommend swallowing your pride and try staying at a job, any job really, even at a hack you learn more taking a shitty project through construction than at a few months starchitecting, if they want to keep you on that is, to learn the things you can never learn in a few months diagramming, pushing the render button or foaming models...

Apr 11, 18 12:08 pm  · 
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"A great designer"

A legend in your own mind. Get over yourself.

Apr 11, 18 12:16 pm  · 
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MarkisA

Wow, thank you for the sarcasm.

 · 

Not sarcastic, just honest.

Question: How can you be a "great designer" if you don't know the first thing about what you're designing?

Answer: You can't.

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s=r*(theta)

I beg to differ miles

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MarkisA

Thank you all so much for your comments. 


To answer Rick+roll, no I dont work in a place where I immediately become an architect, I actually have seven levels to pass. 


answering seffischer, the clash comes when they want me to draw all the construction details when I've never learned them in the first place.


Answering randomized, there is no pride includes but companies decide to ignore you when you don't know about construction and sctually give the project to someone else who knows and not interested in teaching you anything or give you experience in it.


And yes I'm great at designing, not construction. 




Thank you all for your comments but if you've nothing constructive to add please don't respond.

Apr 11, 18 12:21 pm  · 
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randomised

"Thank you all for your comments but if you've nothing constructive to add please don't respond."

That's exactly what those companies think of you, nothing constructive to add ;P

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MarkisA

Go fuck urself

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The "great designer" didn't hear what he wanted to hear?

Boo hoo.

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JLC-1

now I'm curious, what is it you design so greatly but don't know how to build? How is it possible to design something and not know how it's made?

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s=r*(theta)

wut kind of company doesnt have standard details?!? you grab those and modify them, how hard is that for a great drafter

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joseffischer

Next time they tell you to draw a detail. Go to youtube, type in the words on the detail, and start watching installation videos. Then you'll know the why's and whatfor's. Bonus points if you can spot every material that is represented by a line in the detail in question.

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randomised

"Go fuck urself"

Thanks, and I'll enjoy it even more knowing I have a nice job waiting for me when I'm done fucking myself...

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senjohnblutarsky

Are there other drawings in the office?  No one draws anything from scratch.  Find a detail that is similar to the one you're after and modify it.  Is a specific product being used?  The manufacturer will have details.  

Ignorance is acceptable for a while.  But willful ignorance becomes tiresome for those who you work with.  It doesn't sound like you're making an effort to find things; you're expecting to be told. (much like this thread)

When you're asked to do a detail, ask if there is one from another project you can use for reference.  Better yet, find a set of drawings and look for yourself.  

And I agree with the others.  If you don't know how it's put together, you cannot be a great designer.  You probably cause more problems than good.  I see renderings go to clients all the time from "designers" in my office that cannot be built in ways that are budget/material friendly.  The people doing the renderings just make pretty things and don't have a clue how they go together. Then the Architects are left figuring it out.  


Oh, and just to go full grump status:  You're not an Architect. 

Apr 11, 18 12:46 pm  · 
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shji

Go take a look at Architectural Graphic Standards by Ching. Details are headaches. But if one doesn't know the details, there's no way to become a licensed architect. 'Design' we learn at architecture school is reserved for when we become Frank Gehrys. 

Agreed with senjohnblutarsky. Ask your boss for references done on prior projects.

Apr 11, 18 1:02 pm  · 
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whistler

best advice for folks who can design but don't know much about construction is to go build something you have designed.  Start small with a piece of furniture  ie. table / chair / bench / bed.

See how it all goes together, understand the materiality of what you are working with, connectors and fasteners.  Sounds simple, wrong it's a lot harder than you think and will be quite eye opening for you.  From there you can try larger projects.  Designed and built several houses or myself and it was the best learning experience ever.


Apr 11, 18 1:04 pm  · 
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proto

Good communication & encouraging others to take your perspective is as big a part of "designing" as anything else. And the audience that needs to be won over is spread across a wide range of disciplines (architect/supervisor/principal, client, artist, planner, engineer, banker, plans examiner, contractor, etc)

Apr 11, 18 1:35 pm  · 
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JLC-1

if you don't have the time to go into a construction site or take construction classes, read this book

https://www.amazon.com/Place-M...

Apr 11, 18 2:11 pm  · 
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thatsthat

100% agree with senjohnblutarsky's approach.  This is how I teach younger staff to start developing details.  They come to me and say 'I know I need a detail of this connection, but not sure what it's supposed to look like or how it comes together.' Instead of saying 'oh it's like this' and drawing it, I give them the names of a few projects to look up in our office archives, some books, or a manufacturer.  They sketch out how they would do it, and it becomes more of a conversation than me just telling them how to do it.  (This same approach works pretty well with BIM skills too.)  Eventually they will become the architect and will be making the decisions.  I think they need to know how to find the resources to develop their knowledge - not just copy my redlines 100x over so they memorize but don't know why it's detailed a certain way.

Apr 11, 18 2:24 pm  · 
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Wood Guy

MarkisA, what parts of architecture are you good at? Space planning, project management, product selection, decorative finishes?

I learned a lot about residential details by poring over Journal of Light Construction and Fine Homebuilding articles that show details. If you're in the residential or light commercial world, those magazines are good resources for how things are actually built. 

Apr 11, 18 2:40 pm  · 
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joseffischer

JLC is really solid

 · 

Every single reply you have gotten here has been good and accurate. 

I'll only add to not expect yourself to learn everything quickly. There is a reason "young architects" are frequently close to 40 years old: this is a long, slow profession and it takes a long time to get comfortable with the basics then even longer to deeply understand certain aspects of the profession - and you'll never ever be an expert at every aspect, just the ones you focus on. Commit yourself to really looking at details from your firm's projects, or the ones you find in case studies in magazines like Architect, then really look at the built structure to understand how the abstract drawing and reality relate.

Apr 11, 18 3:34 pm  · 
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thatsthat

This is great!! Yes!! You do one project, start to feel comfortable with the knowledge you've gained and then BAM - onto the next and you're learning something all new again! (Hopefully mixed with some stuff you learned in a previous project.) Working on my first heavy timber project currently and it's a whole new world for me.

 · 

I once had 4 senior apartment buildings in a row, each similar in size, unit counts, and amenities but in different locations and with different structural systems. On one hand, lot of repetition. On the other - learning how each structural system goes together and how to detail it.

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tintt

Josh, that sounds like a nightmare, the similar but slightly different thing. Been there.

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Le Courvoisier

Not to pile on, but you are not a great designer if you don't know the basics on how your design gets built. Those two go hand in hand. You need to suck it up and realize that if you're pretty young - you're not a great designer yet. Good maybe, but not great. It takes a while to hit your stride in this profession.

My advice, tell your boss to shove it in your mind or bitch about them with friends - but stay at a place long enough to actually finish a project and go through all the phases of a project. You'll be the first one let go if you only know 10% of the job and don't bother learning the other 90%. 

Apr 11, 18 3:46 pm  · 
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Rusty!

Look, I'm a great designer as well, but I only work with rammed earth. All these 'international style' boss architects are such ram in the ass.

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s=r*(theta)

Design is overrated anyway

Apr 11, 18 4:06 pm  · 
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chigurh

Architectural savant can't be bothered with details!!! 


Apr 11, 18 5:40 pm  · 
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How can you design impossible shit if you know anything about construction?

Apr 11, 18 6:25 pm  · 
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curtkram

all you need is a well placed "by contractor" note. sprinkle "delegated design" liberally through the specs. architecture is easy.

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tintt

That's what the pro practice teachers say too. Design intent!

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OneLostArchitect

I thought I was lost

Apr 11, 18 8:45 pm  · 
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tintt

What kind of construction? Wood, etc? I watch a lot of YouTube videos, started doing that when I needed to learn while fixing up my own house but have extended it to fill any  other gaps I have. Check out info from trade associations too like the rebar and concrete trade associations. 

Apr 12, 18 8:58 am  · 
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tintt

And drive around and check out construction sites too. I do this a lot.

Apr 12, 18 9:12 am  · 
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A605

What field is your company in? Service section or factory? Learn from work first. Or business trip at some construction works.

Apr 13, 18 2:55 am  · 
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accesskb

So you're part of the crew coming out of schools, great in design or calling themselves architects but know jack shit about how to build xDD

How did you even become an architect?  Didn't you have to pass exams?

Apr 13, 18 8:03 am  · 
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auninja91

Maybe he is someone who has an vast idea of what he wants a building to look like, but no knowledge on how to make sure it's designed to be structurally sound. You know like how kids draws houses, or people doodle, or they have an idea of how they'd want their dream house to look like?

I'm not sure how you got a job as a designer - if you haven't studied any construction at all, but for sure once you do get familiar with the standards it will make you a better designer. (right now it just sounds like you have ideas, you don't know how to make work, and that's why your superiors clash with you).

I agree with checking out construction sites, or just observing buildings you see going up. Watch some renovation shows, see the steps taken to actually put up a building. if you're really interested in this filed, it's good that you're finally taking some iniative to realize that you need to at least understand the full process.

once you understand or experience how to build something it will be so much easier to translate that into working drawings. Try volunteering with an organization that builds houses..when i was in school, my graduating class built 2 tiny homes and it really put things into perspective in a whole new way.

Apr 13, 18 12:35 pm  · 
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randomised

I'd say start with Duplo, after a while try your hand at Lego and take it from there...baby steps with this one.

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JLC-1

https://archinect.com/news/art...

31 y.o. sculptor -  you think he knows how to build?  because those designs are amazing! 

I would honestly prohibit any and all electronic devices in architecture school, except for calculators......

Apr 13, 18 2:33 pm  · 
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.


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accesskb

that's a wire mesh. xD I think we all have amazing design ideas.. Then comes reality - structure, weather/sound proofing, costs, building codes ... And poooof!

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tintt

Just stopping in to say I think its funny when renderers sell their renderings with the intent that this is exactly what the building will look like. Then the building looks nothing like that. I know an architect who designs all these thin floaty flat roofs in the renderings and in reality the roof are really thick and ungraceful. The Woo and Screw business model example #1211.

Apr 15, 18 9:50 am  · 
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Helsinki

... and go check out all relevant issues of Detail magazine (they are named according to topics, for example 'building in steel'). Should help.

Apr 15, 18 1:22 pm  · 
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monosierra

In offices where there are desginated 'Designers' and technical staff to support the stylist-in-chief, it is quite possible for the anointed Designer to be in charge of form-making, color and material section, space planning, presentation materials while the rest of the firm provides technical expertise. Not a healthy bifurcation but some offices do work that way when the Designer is very good at what he or she does (That is, the client loves the aesthetics and has full confidence in the rest of the firm's ability to turn that aesthetic into CDs. The ability to translate the principal's broad design ideas into fully fleshed renders is another key skill. You might have a decent sense of style but if you cannot put that into good use working on other people's concepts then it would be all for naught unless you're the one doing the napkin sketches).

Sep 21, 20 3:29 pm  · 
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chris-chitect

This was a great post to read though and I'm curious what has happened to the original poster since the topic was initiated.

Right from the initiation of the post I can see how many recent grads (and myself at one point) seem to have majored in advanced useless design philosophy and a minor in arrogance.

We were almost taught to look down on the trades as if they couldn't comprehend our own genius and years of education. 

I expected to learn way more about how a building is actually constructed in school, but I was usually half a sleep or a total stress case thinking about the afternoon crit. Class trips to construction sites  usually meant only 3-4 students could hear the professor over the noise of machinery or a handful of students could actually fit into an MEP room to see how an hvac system functioned.

The best studio I had was actually a design build. A previous semester class did the neighbourhood research, I came in for the design portion and then stayed on in the summer when it went to construction. Sure it was great to start with the design philosophy, but it was amazing how quickly it went out the window once we had to really look at constructing something and for a charity on a tight budget. My professor insisted on hand drawn 1:1 details, and I remember figuring out a wheel chair ramp to code on a gigantic sheet of paper. We partnered up with a contractor and I worked on shop drawings in parallel to develop the facade, and it was an amazing experience to get my hands dirty and understand critical tolerances, constructability and even "the thickness of glue" as the professor would remind us. 

Whistler had great advice. I've taught myself about furniture design by just doing it. I model everything material in sketchup so I can think about fasteners, adhesives and even cut patterns on raw materials. 

Sep 22, 20 1:38 am  · 
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