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Share Your Work - Interiors Edition

b3tadine[sutures]

This is Herbie Butcher's Fried Chicken, it's a vegan fried chicken joint. Quite simply, Kale - yes his real name - and Aubry, having knocked it out of the park with The Herbivorous Butcher, and achieving tremendous success with their fried chicken at various music festivals, decided that it was time to roll out a fried chicken restaurant. 

The main floor is roughly 800 square feet, with about 175 for seating and takeout. Because of the pandemic, we incorporated a take-out window into the existing storefront. 

The original design intent was fast casual, but we were able to convince Aubry and Kale to think a little bit bolder. The concept we came up with was something we called, fashioned-casual, bespoke-casual, or tailored-casual. Knowing that spaces like these are under considered, rather hard, and unfriendly, we wanted to polish what one would expect in this kind of establishment.

Running through these spaces - THB and HBFC - is a common, and ever present idea; materials, to the greatest degree possible, must be vegan. With that in mind, the blue and yellow "felt" on the wall is not wool, but polyester, with I think 65% recycled content. The Argelith tiles were selected, not only for their looks, but for their durability. The walnut is from a local over stock warehouse for DIY contractors. And the Muuto pendant fixtures are comprised of silicone. The bench in the space currently, is a recycled church pew, refinished to "match" the walnut tops, a fixed bench will be constructed early next year. The tables, get this, I've hated typical table bases for restaurants, mostly boring garbage, I was able to find on West Elm contract furnishings, bases, with tops, for $500, a little out of budget, but a quick search on Amazon, turned up these bases, and they work perfectly. The brass was the seller for me, I like the glint from under the table.

Lessons Learned:

It took me a while to figure this out, but I think I hit on the problem I've been having with many contractors. This project had 23 sheets of drawings, 15 architectural, 8 kitchen consultant. I have been steadily improving my drawing packages, refining how the information is presented, and clarifying intent. What I never considered, until now, is that Architects, all of us, have different ways of presenting that information, different novels, and different language. Yet, we ask contractors to be fluent across the textual presentations of information. I presumed the contractor I was working with had some level of literacy with the information I presented. This was not the case, and I found out early when I started asking for shop drawings, paint draws, and material submittals. He explained no other architect ever asked for that information - OH SHIT! He stated that he assumed it was correct in the drawings - FUCK ME! I explained, that while yes, the intent is described well enough, I also need to be certain it was understood by his team, and that product lines, while relatively stable things, could change, or product numbers could be off, or color names could have been described incorrectly. That this process is a check on all of that. Fuck.

Second, have a preconstruction meeting, where the drawings are read, issues of specific importance are noted and signed off. For instance, I have a note that states walls are to be chalked out, and reviewed with the architect. Almost no one ever does, and it's almost never a problem, except this time. The contractor moved the wall behind the cash-wrap, never told me, and never accounted for the cash-wrap relationship, or the wall tile relationships. By the time I realized what had occurred, it was too late - this, is a major source of my anger on this project, as all of those relationships are readily apparent, to me anyway.

Third, don't do MEP design build, they all suck, the design to the code, and don't exceed, for a commercial kitchen, with heavy loads, popping circuits sucks, when the whole place is whirring. Fuck mechanical contractors, they suck worse, they tried selling spiral duct in this tiny joint, as if I don't know that shit is cheap as fuck. Don't let them layout the ductwork, especially in situations where it matters. Pick your own diffusers, cheap bastards. Same with electrical. I specifically state no white outlets - grey or black - or switches, especially in finished areas, I almost have to get Rick James on these contractors.

Fourth, hire a professional photographer, Ryan Siemers. I do on mine, he went to architecture school, and for my spaces, the fee is well worth the time. I did my own staging, and typically do for all my projects, when I do get them photographed.

Fifth, hire local artists, the mural was created by Jennifer Davis, I've purchased many things from her.

I'm sure I'll have more, but this is all I have for now.

 
Jul 26, 21 10:08 pm
z1111

Cool project and an interesting read.

Jul 26, 21 10:32 pm  · 
1  · 
citizen

Nice project and helpful debrief!

Jul 26, 21 11:00 pm  · 
1  · 

Design / build resolves most of the problems you faced. You're basically there anyway with the granular level of detail, next time construction manage the project yourself. At this scale it's too much fun.

Nice work.

Vegan Chicken, lol

Jul 27, 21 9:00 am  · 
2  · 
b3tadine[sutures]

Miles, I think a measure of what you say is correct, but in these instances the GC is the one doing the hiring, and his subs to a large degree, don't listen to me, or read drawings. I think, at the very least with electrical, if I have engineered drawings, I'll have fewer issues. With mechanical, I can at least be more prescriptive about what I want, and where I want it.

Jul 27, 21 10:22 am  · 
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As CM subs work for the owner under my direction. If they don't listen, adios. If they don't show up, adios. I don't beat them up, I see that they get paid immediately, and I make sure *everything* is ready for them when they hit the site. I've learned a lot from working closely with subs. Get them engaged with a project and they rise to challenges.

Jul 27, 21 12:26 pm  · 
2  · 
b3tadine[sutures]

Yeah, that's how I'd rather work, but the owners established a relationship with GC, and we were dancing a delicate path. I've explained to many a client, hiring based on relationships gets dicey. Ultimately, I'd prefer to do design build, where I'm building, or hiring the contractors. I can be more hands on. We're not there, yet, but getting there nonetheless.

Jul 27, 21 2:35 pm  · 
1  · 
Non Sequitur

That ceiling detail with the slot and pendant lights is beautiful and not something I noticed in the pics you showed in the other thread.  Nice story and great pink Eames chairs.

Jul 27, 21 9:10 am  · 
1  · 
b3tadine[sutures]

The chairs was the hardest part, and not what I picked. Part of the casualness of the space, is the desire to not have customers camp, plus the smallness of the space really requires seats with diminished backs.

Jul 27, 21 10:24 am  · 
1  · 
gibbost

Now this is what I keep showing up to Archinect for.  Architects telling real life stories about their work and how it affected their methodology.  Thanks for sharing B, very nice project.  

Jul 27, 21 9:55 am  · 
3  · 
archanonymous

Great project... super depressing hearing about the contractor. I feel like half the shit I spend my time doing, drawing, thinking about never even gets looked at by the GC. I don't understand how it got so bad.

Jul 27, 21 10:14 am  · 
1  · 
b3tadine[sutures]

I'm increasingly asserting my authority. The one cool little detail, that tied the lighting fixture, and felt wall, was the addition of the felt at the ceiling and the mural wall. The GC asked the client if they wanted to do that, the client's response? Whatever the design team said, do. That is what I wish for all of us.

Jul 27, 21 10:27 am  · 
2  · 
archanonymous

Yes, the correct answer from the client. They can only want one thing above all others - sometimes it is for the project to be good, sometimes it is for the project to be cheap, sometimes just to be done. We all hope for the former.

Jul 27, 21 10:32 am  · 
1  · 
archanonymous

Here's an interior I did where we suffered many of the same slings and arrows as on the project beta posted above.

GC not reading drawings, changing shit in the field. Lack of shop drawings, lack of coordination, lack of workmanship. 


Unfortunately the client also fucked the project - all the ceilings and floors were supposed to be the same color as the walls and furniture in each "zone" but they got scared and directed the GC to use white paint for the ceilings and light grey for the floors. Could have been great - I think the cheap and cheerful MDF "frame" was a good move, and I think the furniture was kinda neat too. This project didn't have much going for it other than the color and the loss of that is pretty tragic.



Project was renovation of the ground floor of a truly dismal residence hall building into learning space. There are 2 large (70 person) and 5 small (30 person) classrooms that open off this central lounge and study space. The central space is the circulation but also tries to create a variety of social spaces for everything from focused studying to group work and collaboration. It seems pretty well used every time I check in on it. 

Jul 27, 21 10:25 am  · 
3  · 
archanonymous

This was also work the firm got from being on a "prequalified" list and we had to use all campus standard materials - specific brand of rubber base, rubber floor, diffuser, select from 3 furniture manufacturers, etc... I think it was something like $100/ sf, and that included new toilets, mechanical, some egress doors, all the interior stuff you see.

Jul 27, 21 10:37 am  · 
1  · 
b3tadine[sutures]

Man, that ceiling detail is sweet, but when clients start designing, look out.

Jul 27, 21 8:57 pm  · 
1  · 
archanonymous

Yep. Institutional jobs are especially hard because they usually have a campus architect or planner who thinks they still know a little bit about design, and standards designed for durability not beauty, and lazy ass maintenance people.

Jul 28, 21 2:12 pm  · 
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A few interiors from a middle school we did a few years ago.  It was a fast track project with a lot of 'on the fly' coordination.

For those of you who remember this is the project with the 'transparent stairs' that gave us issues with the sprinkler heads.  


Jul 27, 21 11:19 am  · 
3  · 
archanonymous

Nice! There's something really interesting for me about the exposed metal truss/ big-box store approach to school facilties. Always reminds me of Coop Himmelblau's HS#9 in LA.

Jul 27, 21 11:54 am  · 
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Just remember that if you do it on your own project to use an acoustical metal deck (as it appears Chad has done here), otherwise the addition of a few hundred little humans gets absolutely deafening.

Jul 27, 21 1:17 pm  · 
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Oh yes. We used an acoustical metal deck.

Jul 27, 21 4:19 pm  · 
1  · 
b3tadine[sutures]

I love fun school projects, they're so hard to pull off, great job.

Jul 27, 21 8:56 pm  · 
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Thanks! As with most good project designs this was a team effort involving everyone in the firm, consultants, and the GC.

Jul 28, 21 10:25 am  · 
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proto

b3ta, thanks for sharing

Jul 27, 21 2:14 pm  · 
1  · 

b3ta's story about his issues with the contractor has brought up some issues that I've struggled with in my last couple of firms and while I don't want to take over the thread with it, it does seem to be something that I've dealt with mostly on interiors-focused projects so it is relevant to the interiors topic, but this thread is not the place for the discussion as it wouldn't really be about showing your work. So, if you'd be interested in a discussion about this, let me know in the replies or give it a thumbs up, and I'll create a separate thread for it. Otherwise, this might just be my rant for the day.

Basically the issue is (I'm told by the PMs on the projects) that the types of contractors we get for these interiors projects don't know what to do with specifications, or the type of things we include in specifications (like submittals as shown in b3ta's example). So even if we include a "sheet spec" on the drawings the contractor still doesn't really look at it or follow it. Now the PMs seem to simply complain that the contractors are the problem here, and on some level I don't disagree with them. However, the PMs seems oblivious to the fact that we (the profession) have probably brought a lot of this on ourselves and we can probably do some things to correct this. 

I say that because I've seen how CA is handled on these types of projects, and (broadly speaking) we don't really enforce the contract, we enforce whatever we need to in order to get the job done and not lose money during CA. I point that out not as a way to say turning a profit is inherently bad or good, but as a way of simply stating that we are in charge of what we write into the specifications, and if we don't hold the contractor to those things they learn that they aren't important and can be ignored. Maybe some of those things aren't important and should be taken out for some of these projects. That is in our control, as is how we enforce the contract during construction. 

Another thing we have control over to some extent (and maybe this is really where the heart of the problem lies) is our fees on a project and how much of that is devoted to 1) documenting the project ... and I mean documenting it, not designing it, and 2), enforcing the contract during construction. I know that our fees are tight on these projects and I get that, but I also know that I'm tired of having people come to me looking for some magic sentence in the general conditions or in the specifications that will make the contractor do the thing we really need them to do this one time, when we haven't really been paying attention to it all the other times we all ignored it. If you know there isn't fee enough to do all the things we want to ignore, that's fine. Let's take them out of the contract so what is there we can enforce as it should be. When we don't take them out, and then ignore it, it handicaps our ability to push for the things we do want to see happen because we've ignored all the other stuff up until that point. The contractor will claim, legitimately, that we can't have it both ways. We either need to enforce the contract or ignore it completely. We can't leave everything in "just in case" and then cherry pick the things we care about after the fact.

FWIW, I think b3ta did extremely well in this situation. It sounds like he had the right things in his documents, but the contractor didn't know about it, or wasn't used to looking for them because experience showed that other architects didn't care about them. Kudos to b3ta for walking the contractor through his expectations and making sure the project was a success. In the end, that's more important than whether or not you got all the appropriate submittals on time, etc. I just can't help but think about how it could have been if the industry was doing a better job of documentation and administration of the contract. 

I'll reiterate again my intent is not for this to take over this thread. If you'd like to see a separate thread to discuss this, let me know if the replies or give this a thumbs up or something. Otherwise I'll assume I'm the only one who cares and this will just be my rant that everyone can ignore.

Jul 27, 21 2:42 pm  · 
2  · 
archanonymous

Post an interiors image and we can then discuss it in this thread!

Jul 27, 21 4:08 pm  · 
1  · 
archanonymous

I do think it is worth discussing... I find the causes you identify interesting, I see it a totally different way.

Jul 27, 21 4:09 pm  · 
1  · 

Another vote for a thread on this topic.

Jul 27, 21 4:21 pm  · 
2  · 

Ok you people, head over here ... Contractors won't look at specifications

Jul 28, 21 4:54 pm  · 
1  · 
natematt

More stairs you say? 

This was a clinic project that I worked on a few years ago as part of a larger masterplan development. Mostly did core and shell work, but stairs are a core item, so I did a lot of the general coordination on these, ultimately someone else did most of the detailing, and all of the CA. 

We went all over with this wood wall, and what was actually built in the end is a custom millwork item not a manufactured product, it looks really nice up close. 

Lessons learned? Try real hard to avoid having to do smoke evac systems. No matter how clear you are, someone's going to draw pipes flying though the hole you punched in the building. Make sure your large format tiles fit in your elevators. 



Jul 27, 21 4:36 pm  · 
2  · 
tduds

Great pictures, can't wait to come back later this week and read the walls of text.

Jul 27, 21 4:40 pm  · 
1  · 
tduds

I immediately realize this might be seen as sarcasm, but I am genuinely looking forward to it. Got a 4 hour train ride coming up...

Jul 27, 21 4:41 pm  · 
3  · 
tduds

Update: good read. I think I'll take my comments to EA's other thread.

Jul 30, 21 5:34 pm  · 
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Almosthip

Designed a Chiropractor's office with $$$$$ worth of tile from Italy.  I designed the reception desk and product display counter behind

Jul 27, 21 6:22 pm  · 
2  · 
Almosthip

behind the counter

Jul 27, 21 6:23 pm  · 
1  · 
archanonymous

That is some damn fine tile.

Jul 27, 21 6:35 pm  · 
1  · 
b3tadine[sutures]

Foine!

Jul 27, 21 8:56 pm  · 
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archanonymous

Tangential, but I really hate those 3form or milled MDF wavy wall panels. In general. Not specifically on this project.

Jul 28, 21 10:29 am  · 
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Almosthip

Those panels are tile too not mdf

Jul 28, 21 12:40 pm  · 
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proto

i love the carrera cut the other way...def a cool look

Jul 30, 21 2:20 pm  · 
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Non Sequitur

I carved out some time to dig something up from 3ish years ago.  While I don't typically do many interiors spaces by myself (we are a joint arch/int des office), below area few pics of one recent project.  The detail in question is the wood cladding which was reclaimed from some local barn and cut specifically for this project.  Simple enough installation but I wanted the boards to read as continuous as much as possible and worked hard to coordinate with the aluminum framing guys to allow boards to run clear past the vestibule framing (installed first) at the main entrance so that the grain/thickness/colour is consistent on both sides.  Wood boards vary from 1/2" to 1-1/2" and the colour is natural but the type escapes me at the moment.

There are a few locations with this finish within the project but one neat thing to note is that when I sat down with the millwork guys to discuss composition, I grabbed a dozen of so boards from the skid I found had an intriguing pattern/character and made a quick mockup on the floor.  I then told them to do as they pleased based on that mockup.  The wood guys were much more excited about the installation since I allowed them to have authorship.  The project is a local construction training centre after all so those that come in are the same folks as the ones building it.  Showing construction pictures because I don't like the final carpet that was installed.


Jul 28, 21 8:27 am  · 
5  · 
archanonymous

Awesome! I've had some of my best results on projects when I set up a framework and boundaries for the subcontractors and then give them space to do their thing.

Jul 28, 21 10:31 am  · 
2  · 
Non Sequitur

^Agree. This was the case here since craftsmanship was key and you don't want to handcuff the skilled folks. Case in point, those are mitered corners using the same board in the 2nd pic.

Pro tip for anyone working with this type of interior cladding... you have to tape/sand/prime and paint a colour the walls behind or else you see the paper of the gypsum board through the cracks and holes.  You can see the warm grey I used near the base of the wood wall in the 3rd pic.  

Jul 28, 21 10:49 am  · 
2  · 
archanonymous

Could probably just tape, mud, and prime dark grey, right? Or can you really notice the wall texture beyond that much?

Jul 28, 21 2:19 pm  · 
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Non Sequitur

In my situation, there were large enough knots so it would have been visible up close... plus, it's easier to tell the gc to finish all the walls with a field colour then apply the cladding then to selectively ID some areas.

Jul 28, 21 2:27 pm  · 
1  · 
joseffischer

back when I did a lot of these types of installs we always used plywood base, not gyp, and would stain the plywood same as the wood.

Jul 30, 21 1:12 pm  · 
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archanonymous

I am doing sort of a similar thing now, but 3/4" thick board (might actually end up as 5/8" so the can re-saw 5/4 stock) on 1" furring strips with 1" matte black faced acoustic blanket laid in between furring, with a note to paint the furring strips matte black to match. The gap at the face of the boards is 1/4" and they have a 45* angle on the back of them to allow the absorptive blanket to do its thing. Should probably make a mockup to check that you can't see too much beyond.

Jul 30, 21 2:43 pm  · 
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gibbost

Non, are those standard exit signs in Canada?  Those are adorable.  Much better than our utilitarian 'EXIT' placards here in the states.

Jul 28, 21 10:59 am  · 
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Non Sequitur

Newish, from at least the last 5 years. We also have approved versions that are self-illuminating so you can stick them anywhere. (glow in the dark).

Jul 28, 21 12:44 pm  · 
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Almosthip

The rest of the world uses running man exits light, it is only the USA that doesnt.

Jul 28, 21 5:24 pm  · 
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I've done a few buildings in northern MN that allowed the 'running man' exit signs. I was shocked and pleased! ;)

Jul 28, 21 5:53 pm  · 
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randomised

To have exit signs only done with text is very dangerous...what if you’re dyslexic, or don’t speak English

Jul 29, 21 11:55 am  · 
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What if you're blind - can't see text or images . . .

Jul 29, 21 12:14 pm  · 
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randomised

What if you’re blind and dyslexic and non-English speaking? And now I wonder if dyslexia also exists among blind people using Braille.

Jul 29, 21 5:16 pm  · 
1  · 
SneakyPete

Glow in the dark can be used in the US, but the amount of light you need to have on the face and how long is spelled out if I recall. There's also the radioactive signs that glow for a good long time, but they may have run out of the element required.

Jul 29, 21 5:52 pm  · 
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gibbost

I just recently used this product on a project where I was particularly interested in not seeing the fixture cabinet/surround: https://www.concealite.com/Interior/Emergency-Exit-Lighting/Conceal-X-Series/13/int I was skeptical, but it actually turned out nice.

Jul 29, 21 6:07 pm  · 
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nice project beta!

I'll share a project that is not quite good enough for publication but that we learned a lot on.

It's a renovation for a relatively high end apartment in central tokyo. Fantastic location, with the expected price tag, but not so great interior plans or finishes. We couldnt do anything about the plans, but could at least make it feel like there was an intent. The ceiling was extremely low because of the tight floor-to-floor heights and the mechanical systems in place. It gets higher in the living area but didnt do much for the space, so we took advantage of both the highs and the lows to turn it into something more interesting.

We had really good contractors, and after 10 years working in tokyo have mostly sorted out the kinks with drawing sets and choosing the builder. So we turned this project into an opportunity to work out a number of details and to see how much we could turn the design around a single component, namely the wood panels, which work both as walls and ceiling. We moved all the switches and outlets into the angled wood in pieces in the hallway, integrated the handles with the frames and turned the edges between wood panels and doors into a black outline that is kind of nice. We did the same for the light switches in the living room with a detail that turned out better than expected. If we were to do it again I think we would try to make it look a bit more casual, with slightly rougher details, but that's just me.

entrance hall - shoe closet on the left, wc and closet on the right. The wood floor at the entrance wraps around the carpet as an edge material in the living room, and dominates again in the kitchen

doors with a 10mm black aluminum frame

instead of a hanging lamp we turned the wood sheets into the lighting feature. it also covers the ceiling AC. The kitchen mostly stayed as it was - we only refinished it and then used the same reflective material to outline the area in the ceiling


Jul 31, 21 5:09 pm  · 
5  · 
b3tadine[sutures]

Will, this is so lovely, refined, simple, just beautiful.

Jul 31, 21 5:51 pm  · 
1  · 

thanks beta. That is very kind.

Jul 31, 21 7:39 pm  · 
1  · 
luvu

This is my kind of interior ... beautiful. Any chance that you could show us some sexy section dwgs ?

Jul 31, 21 8:54 pm  · 
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there is not that much to show, tbh. The details took a bit of time to figure out, but they are extremely simple. The construction drawings are also pretty straightforward without much to see. For the ceiling, we designed with models and rhino, and then converted outcomes to very simple drawings that indicated heights and locations of the panels from a zero mark. It looks more like a strange topographical plan than anything. Same thing with the doors. These were tested in rhino, although it probably wasn't necessary. We wanted to make sure the black aluminum door stops would be buildable and would line up with shadow gaps at the bottom and top of the wall panels, etc. After that it was mostly PM work and communication more than the drawings themselves. That was one of the big learning opportunities for us, because we worked out how to use 3d modeling to design and then convert the outcome into something that builders were comfortable with. We learned on previous projects that builders are not so comfortable with digital data and that it was on us to communicate better and make construction smoother for everyone. The scale and scope of the project lent itself to trying a few things in the office to sort the workflow out. This is becoming more important to us as we move slowly out of our comfort zone and become (hopefully) more professional.

Aug 1, 21 11:36 am  · 
1  · 
luvu

.

Jul 31, 21 8:53 pm  · 
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