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Sarah Hamilton

Thanks all. Sometimes it's good to hear others say its ok, even of only to give the illusion of having someone else to blame.

Jun 14, 12 8:50 am

Can we post animated gifs here in the forum?

^-- there is an animated gif here.  it appears in the post comment preview thing.  if you can see it, then the answer is yes.  if not, then probably not.


Jun 14, 12 9:19 am

I see it, curt, and it's moving.  Did you post that as a link or as an image?

Jun 14, 12 9:25 am

It is moving here.

Jun 14, 12 10:08 am

America's First Illegal Immigrants|

Jun 14, 12 10:12 am

posted as an image

Jun 14, 12 11:42 am

just want to repost this article from the atlantic cities: zombie infrastructure


what is most striking to me is reading the conservative case against sprawl (aside from the ridiculousness of the guy waxing poetic over a strip mall).

Jun 14, 12 5:15 pm
Sarah Hamilton

I'm excited for all these cheesy man-commercials. I like that the men are all manly, in suits, James Bond like, ect. I'm hoping that for once, the commercials will influence guys to be men more often. Wishful thinking?

Jun 14, 12 9:31 pm

curtkram - why are you posting pornographic gifs?  I'm reporting you.

Jun 14, 12 9:32 pm

toast what porno pics? or were you referring to the morphing/animated gif....

night all.

Jun 14, 12 10:29 pm

That gif was completely innocent to me until you said something, toaster! Now: whew.

Jun 14, 12 11:29 pm

pornographic gifts are against the rules here?

this is a site for architects.  pornographic gifs is what we do.

Jun 15, 12 7:28 am

they are against my (home) office rules of not looking at sexy maths while trying to get work done.  next time you should post "warning - sexy maths"

Jun 15, 12 5:16 pm

Whatever happened to that guess-this-building thread? I've been trying to search for it since the redesign with no luck.

Jun 16, 12 4:50 am

let me google that for you

Jun 16, 12 9:18 am

I guess we ran out of buildings to identify.


Jun 16, 12 6:33 pm

I'm in Kentucky.  Had Woodford Reserve Double Oaked last night and OMG my life is changed.  It is delicious, Steven I wonder if you agree?

Jun 18, 12 8:09 am
Sarah Hamilton

I got a discount at the liquor store on Saturday.

Jun 18, 12 6:52 pm

haven't had it, donna. once again, you've beaten me to the new stuff. 

i did order a bourbon when i was out for national bourbon day earlier this week. i was in the 'rickhouse' restaurant in bardstown ky, just downstairs from the bourbon museum there. but ordering a bourbon from a neighboring county just didn't seem polite. i went with a bardstown brand. 

Jun 19, 12 6:34 am

anyone had makers 46? I had never heard of the stuff just had it a couple of days ago. better and less sweet finish (i guess cause of the aging?) than the regular makers.

morning all.

Jun 19, 12 8:11 am

exactly my opinion, nam. i'm not a fan of the normal makers, but 46 is much better. still not a favorite...

Jun 19, 12 9:19 am

kubo - is this what you've been looking for?

Name that Architect and Building!!!

Jun 19, 12 11:25 am

hey all, went to an ncarb event tonight, and wow, what a change-up! seems like the impossible can happen. 110% more responsive to the issues plaguing future professionals, and current ones too.

Jun 19, 12 10:51 pm

I haven't been around in a bit, but funny the Name that Architect and Building thread came up, I think 95% of my posts are from there. It could use a second wind...

Glad to see everyone is still posting here. 

Jun 20, 12 12:53 am

I'm curious about what you saw at NCARB that would make you want to do something other than complain.  I thought all they did was overcharge and file stuff.  Now with everything in a database on a computer, I don't think they even file stuff. 

another point of view

Apologies if you were just being optimistic.  I didn't mean to rain on your parade.

Jun 20, 12 7:32 am

hey phuyaké! haven't seen you in a bit. Things going well?

Jun 20, 12 8:15 am

All good Nam! Been in LA for about a year now, miss the east coast but enjoying the sunshine. Not working in an "strictly architecture" firm for the first time, which is extremely refreshing. Good luck with the move.

Jun 20, 12 3:21 pm

curtkram, that's okay, my parade is always getting shit on, but in this case you haven't. first, and i'll get into more detail later, is the fact that the CEO admitted how fucked up NCARB is/was and essentially threw themselves on the mercy of the crowd. mea culpas all around. to me, that's a huge first step. 

Jun 20, 12 6:02 pm

and he didn't fall on his honor...darn....I thought this might be dramatic.


Jun 20, 12 6:55 pm

snook, he's relatively new, but completely aware of the image problem.

okay, so, a few things i was not aware of, because, well they're new too; if you are a high school student, committed to a NAAB school, you can start IDP. NCARB is looking very soon, because more state boards are coming around to the idea, to allow architecture students to take the ARE's while in school - structures it seems would be the likely first choice. because of the economy, they have expanded what can be considered for hours applying to your IDP; competitions for one, higher degrees, research and education, and more. the fee won't come down much, but two things are at play here, one, adjusted for inflation, the fees to take the exam are no different than the were in 1975 apparently, and two, certificate holders subsidize 1/3 of the ARE fees. the vignette software will be replaced, probably not soon enough for those taking the exam now, but they have engaged a new vendor. in fact, they are even looking at if the graphics portion of the exam is the best way to test competency.

NCARB is also looking to make the licensure process a bit more uniform across the country; it's too damn complicated. they are trying to provide more value to certificate holders. they are offering amnesty to those certificate holders who have lapsed certificates, and are capping the penalty at 5 years.

NCARB is also trying to put the hammer down on architects/firms that do not provide interns with the necessary experience required to complete IDP.

The assembled staff was accessible, apologetic and earnestly trying to demonstrate that they were here, and actively listening to the member concerns. They provided contact information, and stayed as long as needed to answer specific questions. 

It appears, at least if you believe the words, NCARB is doing some heavy lifting here, trying to change a well deserved black eye, but again, time will tell. Of course there will be individual cases of crazy shit going on, but I heard enough last night, that led me to believe that people were listening for a change. 

Now, if my state can just get rid of our licensing board exec director, then everything will be okay in the world.

Jun 20, 12 9:55 pm

How about getting rid of idp all together.  The ARE's should be enough to get licenced. 

Jun 21, 12 3:07 am

if they're allowing the ARE to be taken earlier, there still has to be some structure for requiring internship experience. whether that's IDP or not, i don't know. but a whiz kid who can pass the ARE directly out of school is NOT ready to be registered, imo.

sorry, i sound old and cranky. but, well, maybe i am. i've seen a lot of green, wide-eyed graduates and they need some hours logged one way or another. 

Jun 21, 12 7:15 am

if NCARB cannot improve Intern Development, and get the licensed professional to engage on this issue, then yes, it deserves to go, but IDP has been around in some form since the 70's and it's not going anywhere anytime soon.

i agree with Steven. currently, in MN, you can take all the exams before completing IDP, but you are not considered an architect until you complete IDP.

it seems that there are multiple paths for getting this done, and they seem to be tring more things, and getting away from the bunker mentality.

all positive things, cautiously optimistic i am.

Jun 21, 12 9:33 am

I actually disagree that they should expand the things that count for IDP so much that competitions, research, and higher ed should count.  I actually agree with the idea that practical (in the sense that it literally means: practice) knowledge needs to be layered onto an architectural degree before one is ready to actually practice architecture.  I don't disagree with expanding options some given the harsh state of the economy but I would like to see it expand in the direction of construction practice: work as a plumber's apprentice, do some rough framing, take the courses at the trade unions, that kind of thing.  THAT is MUCH more applicable to producing a better designer / architect than a competition, which is essentially the same thing as what you do in your studio courses in school already.  

IDP was frustrating for me because all my time working during school didn't count, which was bullshit (I worked every single summer, and christmas, and during most of my semesters part time, for the same 2 firms so it was a fairly continuous work experience).  I was not allowed to report a single hour of any of that.  It sounds like they're addressing this issue which makes me happy.

But otherwise I don't disagree with the main purpose of it, which is (in theory) to expose potential architects to the stuff they didn't learn in school.  Totally agree with Steven that fresh grads with no work experience DEFINITELY need to be instructed in lots.  Not just how a drawing set goes together, but lots and lots of CA experience.  In my view, what makes the single biggest difference in quality between two intern architects with the same degree and length of work experience is how much of that experience came in CA.  THAT's where everything finally clicks together for an architect.

Jun 21, 12 11:00 am

do they still ask people whether they've seen a project through from start to finish? That was the hot question back when I graduated, and I can definitely see the reason. To expand on what manta said or put my own spin on it, CA experience is great but doing CA on a project that you were the designer on is something more. Seeing how your decisions played out, knowing which ones were deliberate and which were off-hand and why you did everything, and seeing where you were right and where you missed something, is infinitely more valuable than doing CA on someone else's designs, where you can just attribute every issue to another designer's stupidity. 

Jun 21, 12 12:35 pm

experiance requirements are way overrated.  Truth is that an idiot will still be an idiot after 10 years exp.  Getting rid of it will be the best thing that could happen to this profession.  Open the flood gates to new competition and startups. 

Jun 21, 12 7:54 pm

Good point, rationalist.  Although that's a difficult one to put in practice realistically.  At a minimum level though, an intern should be taken onto a construction site as soon as possible.  It makes everything else make so much more sense - honestly, even explaining CDs to an intern who has never been on the construction site is kind of difficult.  

Jun 21, 12 8:32 pm

hm, kinda on the fence on that.  no experience before license is how it works in much of europe and it seems to be fine, but then again the things fresh graduates don't know is mind-boggling. Not only do many not know how to design, they don't know a thing about practice.  which may be why even holland is going to require experience soon...

i prefer to assume a person ain't an idiot and work from there when it comes to policy choices.

i don't think it will make much of a difference if fresh graduates want to set up shop.  where competition will hurt our profession is where it already does, with the large construction companies and offices taking all work because they have the resources and the deep pockets to do so...that is real capitalism at work and i see no cure for it except to aim for bigness too.  not so easy to do.

for licence process, sure why not include some trade experience along with competitions.  they both have almost zero to do with actual practice so i don't see that sort of thing leading to competency really, but if we are setting up arbitrary categories to make the process easier to get through, they are as good as any ;-)

Jun 21, 12 8:37 pm

Today's design challenge, a second floor balcony dog relief wall, is accomplished! Problem solved!

I will tidy up the loose ends later... It worked!

Jun 21, 12 11:25 pm

Here is a good combination: fresh peaches, sparkling wine, and bourbon.

Here is another good combination: some young grads with no experience making it up as they go along and some young grads with no experience learning in a professional setting with good mentors.

I like it all.

Jun 21, 12 11:40 pm

diversity is always a good thing.  Some grads are clueless, but if they are, then they will likely fail in business anyway- its kinda self reguating.  No need for any outside regulators, let the forces of free competition work and there will be a sort of natural selection.  I really believe that it would be good for everyone.  Firms would not have to deal with the IDP hassle.  I think that this is what creates alot of animosity between the young and old.  That should be eliminated and we should go back to more of a mentorship kind of relationship.  It is much more personal than this system where everyone owes each other something. learning the ropes should be ones own responsibility, and if they really love this stuff they will learn on their own what ever it takes.  Most people will (especially the clueless ones) seek experiance anyway before opening shop.  Also, not all grads are clueless.  Some of them are adults after graduation with past lives and past careers in construction, art, design, etc.....

My sis is a lawyer.  she is the kinda person who learns on her own.  She opened a firm a year after the bar and is doing really well now.  She learned it all on her own.  Most of her classmates worked for a couple years to get experiance and thats cool too.  Everyone is different, and no way is always better.  It just depends on the person.   

Jun 22, 12 1:57 am

while i like the idea of diversity of experience and i love the thought of what awesome things might come of inexperienced designers making up their own rules, the thought of those designers launching into the current liability landscape with real clients expecting them to take responsibility for knowing everything scares the crap out of me.

miniscule document errors can blow up into a big deal and if there isn't someone in an office who can absorb/deflect/resolve these things, the design team could be toast. (sorry. recent personal experiences.) 

Jun 22, 12 7:36 am

"launching into the current liability landscape "

to do a kitchen addition? probably not. For sufficiently complex projects, clients will lean towards sufficiently experienced architecture firms. You're not designing the next Gugenheim after a series of bungalows.

If receiving an accredited degree means very little, what does getting registered really mean? The registered architect I spoke to yesterday doesn't know the difference between a low modulus silicone and a medium modulus urethane. pfft. as if! Someone pls revoke his license. thnx.

It's such a complex profession, and it's truly impossible to be on top of everything, so we tend to specialize (in project types, project phases, etc..) I'm not quite sure what the registration really means in terms of actual knowledge.


MERIT! What happened to that silly concept?

Jun 22, 12 9:56 am

let the forces of free competition work and there will be a sort of natural selection

I disagree with this, basically on principle.  I don't believe we have an environment that rewards hard work or competence or whatever.  Sure, there almost always has to be a competent person close by, but that's more of a detail.  I think it's often the case that people succeed because of some sort of position of privilege (wealth, power, political influence, uncle owns a multinational firm, whatever).  Being incompetent does not cause failure, it just sort of helps it along.  I'm not saying this is absolute, just that it's fairly common.

To put it another way, businesses tend to fail because they run out of money and/or other resources.  If I start out with nothing but a shoestring, design the perfect thing, dot all my 't's and cross all my 'i's, and do everything perfect, but then the client doesn't pay or goes bankrupt or something, I'm still out of luck.  My business goes under (especially if I was operating on a line of credit), I declare bankruptcy, and my business fails through no fault of my own.  On the other hand some trust fund kiddie fails miserably.  They don't listen to the client, go way over budget, the project gets shut down half way through and everyone gets sued.  Trust fund kiddie loses some money, but ultimately gets bailed out and his company continues to be successful.  I wouldn't expect that individual's honey pot to be unlimited, so there are only a certain number of times they can do that, but they still get a couple get out of jail free cards.

Now to expand on that.  Architects really do have a role in promoting public health and safety.  Not knowing how to prevent mold in a wall and such can actually hurt people.  Remember this?  The architect really could have reviewed those drawings and prevented that disaster.  I still see architects that don't know what the stuff on an electrical panel means, or what the MEP drawings are actually saying.

That's why, in my opinion, regulation and IDP and stuff are necessary.  The current implementation of these rules are still allowing people not qualified to practice architecture.  It should be improved, preferably in a way to make it more efficient and effective rather than just adding red tape and additional fees.  We need some sort of system in place to make sure more people calling themselves 'Architect' know what they're doing and know how buildings work.

There is no 'invisible hand.'  There never was.  That hand has been manipulated since long before adam smith or whoever started writing about it.  My sis is a lawyer too but I don't think that's relevant to the point I was trying make :)

Jun 22, 12 10:04 am

The registered architect I spoke to yesterday doesn't know the difference between a low modulus silicone and a medium modulus urethane. pfft

He doesn't have smart phone?  He just doesn't care?  Too lazy to google it?  While I suppose the first is forgivable, the other two certainly aren't redeeming qualities.

edit: that doesn't really explain the silicone/urethane difference, but I bet you could figure it out if you wanted to

Jun 22, 12 10:11 am

" I still see architects that don't know what the stuff on an electrical panel means"

I can assemble a custom list of 1001 things any individual architect doesn't know. And there is a million things I don't know myself (some that you would consider elemental knowledge). It's not a pissing context. Mistakes happen because we tend to be overworked, and we are overworked because we are running on a broken business model.

Anyways, any of these lawyer sisters single? I need a rich benefactor that can finance my fight against working 60 hour weeks.

Jun 22, 12 10:20 am

"He doesn't have smart phone?"

The yahoo answer that you link to is incorrect right off the bat. Low modulus means more movement, not the other way around. Internet is suprisingly poor technical resource. Lies and sales pitches. and porn.

Jun 22, 12 10:25 am

My sister is married and not really that wealthy.  Sorry.

So I guess my view of what an architect should be is a renaissance man or woman that can coordinate all trades and think through how the building is going to be built before it gets built.  The contractor or site superintendent is often going to be too concerned with those trades on site and what is happening at the present moment to think forward about how the immediate decisions effect a trade later down the line.  At least that has been my impression. 

Here's my analogy.  It is not my job to tell a client they want a clay tile roof or asphalt shingles.  I can have an opinion, and say if every house in a square mile has asphalt shingles maybe this one should too, but in the end it's the client's building and that is their decisions.  What I do know is that at some point a plumber is likely going to want to poke a vent through that roof, and water is going to have to be somehow shed off that roof, and there will be uplift forces caused by the wind.  I've never detailed a clay tile roof, so I really don't know how any of that works.  If I want to be the architect on that project, I think I have a responsibility to figure it out (or tell the client I don't know what I'm doing and get someone else).

Experience helps this in a lot of ways.  First, a bit of humility in the ability to say that I don't know anything about clay roofs.  Second, I have at least a general idea of what questions need asked and what answers I need to find.  Third, I know it's important.  I know that the plumber doesn't do the roofers job and vice versa, the framer is someone totally different that isn't going to talk to either of them, and I know that the responsibility of that flashing detail is probably going to fall on me.  There was a time when architecture drawings could say "put roof here" and leave it at that, but I really don't think that's true anymore.

Think about a plumbing wall.  You can't fit a 4" vent pipe in a 3-5/8" or 3-1/2" stud wall.  Most architect here probably know from the outset that they're going to have to make that wall thicker.  A lot of the students may not know that yet.  What I'm saying is that it's important for the architect to know how to read plumbing drawings so if, for whatever reason, they didn't know that wall needs to be thicker they can catch it before the framer lays down the studs.  You just don't want that stuff to be fixed on-site after concrete has been poured.  It's not that unlikely that they will just 'fix' it and a few months later you find out your restroom is no longer ADA accessible.

Jun 22, 12 10:50 am

 learning the ropes should be ones own responsibility, and if they really love this stuff they will learn on their own what ever it takes. 


disagree - it's everyone's responsibility.   No one learns things on their own - you're always standing on someone else's shoulders.  I didn't like IDP because my time working under a GC who was also a licensed architect didn't count, but my time fetching coffee and picking up dry-cleaning for a starchitect did count (and it only looks impressive on my resume).  for that reason IDP, at least to me, was a joke.  but I do feel very strongly that you need experience before you get licensed - and that schools need to be better about teaching professional and technical skills.


I can assemble a custom list of 1001 things any individual architect doesn't know. And there is a million things I don't know myself (some that you would consider elemental knowledge). It's not a pissing context.


what??!!?  it IS a pissing contest.  Don't you go to meetings with other males?  having lots of credentials also makes your pee go further apparently...

Jun 22, 12 1:48 pm

I hate being on the road first half the day on Fridays - when I get back to the office I'm ready to go home.

Jun 22, 12 2:07 pm

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