Thread Central


"why don't you assholes design what I want' is the *perfect * name for that thread.  Well done, toast. I've just been posting whatever thought comes to mind on there, then ignoring it for a couple days, then going back in for fun.  I read an article today in Discover about math explaining all of reality and it made reference to parabolic curves.  I may throw a parabolic curve in the discussion, or better yet a catenary!

Nov 17, 13 11:36 am

(post removed)

Nov 17, 13 11:47 am
Nothing says winter like raking leafs in the rain. Then fixing vintage motorcycles. Baby. I love my life :)
Nov 17, 13 4:16 pm

The turkeys are a donation to the Homeless Shelter and Food Pantry.  They were having a had time finding a place to keep them up until the time they are distributed to people. I have been doing a pro-bono helping them line out a new walk in freezer.  The manufacturers couldn't  fabricate in time for Thanksgiving and shipped to us in order to be set up and have running.  I found out about this on Friday morning when I was standing in the middle of the woods with a very static cell phone call.  The director was a bit aside herself, so I said let me make a few phone calls.  One of the people I was with said oh, my brother runs a camp and they have a big walk in freezer which would be empty this time of the year.  I also called a client who owns a  restaurant, and well he lined me up with a friend in common who  makes the best ice cream  North of New York City.  This being a slower time of the year he can also handle part of the frozen flock.  It is all in the day of an Architect.  So frozen flocks of Turkeys all hold up in Freezers prior to Turkey Day!

Nov 17, 13 5:57 pm
Right on snook!
Nov 17, 13 5:59 pm
Sarah Hamilton

Quick, every word has two meanings, the didactic one, and the other one that has something to do with how we perceive it, but damn if I can't remember what thats called.  Anybody?

Nov 18, 13 10:44 am


Nov 18, 13 11:24 am

This one was from the audition for the role of Joey Tribbiani.

So, Miles, you're a wannabee Italian, then?  After all, you're on "Lawn Giland."  Way out on the island, manicured behavior, if you will, is expected.  Closer to the border of Queens and Nassau County, not so much (*thinking Valley Stream*)

Nov 18, 13 11:53 am
Sarah Hamilton

Thank you.  It finally came to me, but then it left again.  Stupid brain.

Nov 18, 13 12:52 pm

No Johnny Strabler references? I didn't think it was that deep.

Nov 18, 13 2:10 pm
Sarah Hamilton

Completely off topic:

My son is 5, and wants to be a writer/illustrator.  I try to give him access to  quality tools, but within his age/skill set.  Wasn't somebody's wife or close friend an illustrator?  Seems something about that is back in my mind for some reason.  I'm wondering what would be good things for an aspiring illustrator to have.  He gets a new sketchbook each time one is filled up, but I'm sure there are other things that I am just not aware of that would spark his fire.

Any ideas?

Nov 18, 13 3:03 pm
I have a cousin who is an illustrator, I'll pass along your question later today.
Nov 18, 13 3:26 pm

Sarah, my daughter is leaning toward illustration at RISD. I have a friend who graduated from RISD illustration and have worked with several illustrators on my publishing projects.

Keep feeding him sketchbooks. Also watercolors and a variety of pencils soft to medium. Crayons, markers - Tombow are very good. Sketch pads in bigger sizes, 16x20 probably good for his size.

Do you read with him a lot? At his age my daughter and I started reading books where you create the visuals in your mind's eye, like The Hobbit. Don't be afraid to read him what you think is well above his level, he'll let you know if he doesn't get it., and you can always come back to it later.

Find a good studio and teacher for classical drawing lessons, drawing from observation. If he likes to draw he'll love the training because he will quickly develop techniques that will radically improve his work.

Nov 18, 13 7:07 pm

hi all

crazy busy lately.

can't believe the "design what we want thread" is still there.

@ sarah, am sure you are giving him more than enough. maybe expose him to more by going to see art, and talking about what you see. 

weirdly we fired our client today.  first time for us. didn't go well. Explaining the value of design to people who don't understand what we do is really tough. Explaining that they couldn't pay us enough to do the job they want is even harder. Am sure this will come up again. last few years has been a real learning curve on client relations. Bottom line seems to be to lay it all out at the front end.

Nov 18, 13 7:22 pm

what happened will? was it someone who just wanted a concrete box and you didn't want to go there?

Nov 18, 13 7:30 pm

nah, we did a design, it was accepted, we built 3/4 of it and then they wanted something else and we didn't want to do what they wanted. We realized a bit late that it was a bad match.  No hard feelings on our side, but really awkward. Client doesn't understand. I suppose lots of architects wouldn't understand either.  It's a luxury problem, but for us very important.

Nov 18, 13 7:50 pm

that does sound kind of interesting will. i would expect after 3/4 actually being built, you're on the hook for the full 100%.  if you back out and they get a different design team involved to finish it their way, won't you potentially be held liable for the shortcuts/mistakes they might make?

i'm not sure i would know how to say 'no' after i already said 'no.' 

Nov 18, 13 8:04 pm

will's my hero today. 

Nov 18, 13 8:46 pm

Good one Will!

I also refused a client for wanting to enlarge the project unnecessarily and block the life out of an 30's hillside Spanish apartment building next door. Live and let live man.. I don't want to accommodate people who want to maximize at the cost of other people and their buildings. They also could not understand why I would be so caring for another building while working for them.

Nov 18, 13 9:13 pm

wow - 3/4 through construction?  must've been pretty serious.

Nov 18, 13 10:40 pm

It is fascinating to learn how this business needs skills so far from design its almost a separate universe. More of this sort of thing in professional practice would have been awesome.  We are not hurt financially, etc from this particular case, but its not something we were quite ready for.  And yeah, the conversation did involve who was being paid and for what...

Nov 19, 13 6:01 am

SH, I have a former student in her first year of school for illustration. I agree (and the science agrees) with miles who said you should read to him and talk about what he pictures. "What do you see for _____?" is a great question, and prompt him to express lots stuff, like if you read about Greece for example don't just let him say it is a country in Europe, you guys should build rich meaningful pictures in your minds together (look stuff up). This is what I get paid big bucks to do with disabled kids. It works. Asking what you "see" or "picture" for words stimulates the mind's picture making ability. Great skills for writing and illustrating. 

Nov 19, 13 6:29 am

i don't think they could teach it in pro practice, will. what would they teach, exactly, except maybe that this situation will arise? different architects would have handled your situations in very different ways.

in fact, you're not my hero because you did what the profession teaches but actually what it seldom supports! too often we can't afford to take the action you did or don't have the guts. 

Nov 19, 13 9:58 am

Real world architecture is 15% design, 70% research, construction, technical, and regulatory matters, and 15% business and project management.

That 70% causes a lot of the defection from school and from practice, because the "Romper Room" mentality of some in the design studio is not sustainable (a word I hate because it has become trite and ubiquitous, not to mention loved by granolas) in the "real world."

Nov 19, 13 11:44 am

Yesterday at 7am I dropped my husband at the Indy airport.  20 minutes ago he texted me that he was on the ground in Phnom Penh.  29 hours of travel on planes and in airports.  I'm not sure I want to ever go to SE Asia if this is what it takes!

Nov 19, 13 12:07 pm
Sarah Hamilton

I'm with you, Donna.  Same with Australia.  If either of us ever need to get to those places, we should take a cruise.

Nov 19, 13 12:17 pm

Sarah, the idea sounds great, as ships from the U.S. go down there, typically on their round the world cruise, and it would be sweet to go on historic Cunard as opposed to something tacky like Carnival.

This is what history looks like.  It has a black hull, and not a white one with disco colors:

Now, what sucks is that the grande dame, the Queen Mary 2, can't squeeze through the Panama Canal, so her World Cruise is aimed at Europeans and leaves and returns to the UK. It "doubles up" on Australian ports, and can't even make it to Japan.  That's lame. Check map.

The fleet's smaller ships CAN make it through the Panama Canal, so traveling from the West Coast to Australia is doable, as a segment, where you can disembark and fly home.  Check map.

Their previous flagship, the QE2, was a reliable once-a-year sight in L.A.'s harbor as she continued on to Honolulu, the South Pacific, and Australia.

An "archinect cruise" from America to Australia aboard Cunard could be interesting.  I wonder if we'd be talking to each other by the end of the cruise.

Nov 19, 13 1:19 pm

No archinect cruise for me, I'm afraid I'd be scalped and thrown overboard. :)

Nov 19, 13 1:45 pm

"Real world architecture is 15% design, 70% research, construction, technical, and regulatory matters, and 15% business and project management."


And 100% psychology...

Nov 19, 13 1:53 pm

100% futile. 

"And 100% psychology..." what do you mean?

Nov 19, 13 1:58 pm

It's critical in architecture to understand people and why they think & do what they do.

Nov 19, 13 2:08 pm

Ideally, but not in practice methinks. 

Nov 19, 13 2:23 pm

Well, being an armchair psychologist 100% of the time is necessary, because it permeates the 15 + 70 + 15 combination, given how many prima donnas and pricks there are who one might have to deal with.

Nov 19, 13 2:29 pm

I'm not suggesting it in a theory application (like you often see in education) but as a means to understand why an idiotic discussion like the "Why won't you just admit I'm right about you self-righteous assholes" thread exists.

Nov 19, 13 2:48 pm

So are you saying you have insight into that discussion? Let's hear it, sneakypete! Edited: I think it is a bunch of people talking past each other, which is to be expected.

Nov 19, 13 2:57 pm

I do not have insight into that discussion because I do not believe it is advisable to have that sort of discussion in text. My ability to perceive others' opinions, point of view, and emotional attachment to any idea requires me to be speaking with them at the very least.

Nov 19, 13 3:46 pm

The psychologist hat should always be worn 100% of the time:  in sizing up coworkers and what they're like, in sizing up clients and prognosticating how amenable or fussy they might be, in sizing up contractors to see how much CYA communication is needed, and in sizing up city officials, consultants, and other folks to see how they might facilitate or impede the project.  Also, rely on profiling or stereotyping to some extent.

I once had a drafter work for me.  He typically worked for other within the firm.  I preferred to b.s. with him by the water cooler in response to his "What's going on, man?"  Then I got "lucky" and he was on my project.  He looked like Jesus and slurred his speech like a stoner/surfer.  Guess what?  His performance was slurred, too.  I had a feeling it would be.  Oh, yeah ... Jesus eventually got fired.  I suppose that beats being crucified.

Nov 19, 13 4:13 pm

The psychologist hat should always be worn 100% of the time:

what if you're really bad at being a psychologist, but you think you're really good at it?  is there a point where you just take things at face value?

Nov 19, 13 4:55 pm


No, I'm good at being an armchair psychologist.  I used to be bad at it, taking things at face value.  By the time I finished undergrad, I realized one needed to develop that skill.  Most people are exactly like what you read in 15 seconds to 15 minutes.

And, while you paint an accepting picture, I'm sure you're quite analytical as well.

The only person to take at face value is someone who just walked right past you at Chicago's airport and who you will never see again.  Still, you might have made an assessment of that very person.

Nov 19, 13 5:22 pm

Observant what in the world are you on about? I'm saying this with a smile, for yor psychology hat to look at.


I have no idea about psychology. I guess that means people skills really. We are learning that being compliant and polite is not the way to get where we want. The "hard-ass no-nonsense architect" persona is also a skill I can appreciate. Calatrava takes it a bit far, but he is on the right track. Really hard for a Canadian, but maybe more lethal.  Like Rusty...

I am ever more impressed by the star-architects that get to build such important and intelligent things. Its not just the client allowing them to do what they do.

Nov 19, 13 5:24 pm

Real world architecture is 15% design, 70% research, construction, technical, and regulatory matters, and 15% business and project management.

Where is the Economics in that?  Cost Drive Projects unless your a Star Architect!

Nov 19, 13 6:14 pm

Not sure that percentages are correct, but for lack of better numbers I would say its the same for starchitecture. There are no free rides with construction, even if you are Zaha or Rem. Maybe there is a bit more time spent in design, and they take a hit for that financially, but otherwise its the same game. Which is to say, star architecture is just as real.  Its not that they deal with a different universe or something.  They do the same shit we do, and then do more. That's what is so impressive in my mind about the folks who work at that level...

Nov 19, 13 8:02 pm

Observant what in the world are you on about? I'm saying this with a smile, for yor psychology hat to look at.

When you travel and are on a train or on a plane, do you enjoy sitting there and watching the world go by to make the trip seem shorter?  I do.  Isn't it fun to do the same whether in the center of New York or San Francisco?  And just sort of seeing what someone's story might be?  I think so.  In these settings, it's optional.  In the work world, and its milieu, it's actually helpful and strategic.

Where is the Economics in that?

It's in the last 15% - business (economics) and project management (economics).

Nov 19, 13 8:31 pm

Psychology is such a huge field... many, many sub-fields. I like finding out what motivates people. But not all people. Just some. 

Nov 19, 13 8:43 pm

well unless you ask the people passing by what they are up to and get a history what you would be practising there would be fantasy...which is sort of creepy.

it seems like you are talking about psychology as a tool for manipulation.  i suppose everyone does it in some ways although i can't get too excited over it myself.  Ends up as more bullshit in the end and the world has enough crap already...

Nov 20, 13 9:42 am

astrology needs to be included in the percentage.  Or maybe that's just the secret ingredient that makes the difference between a starchictect and a regular architect.

Nov 20, 13 9:58 am

I have no idea where I got this from (or if I made it up myself - which is highly unlikely) - but there are basically two kinds of people in this world:  idiots, and the people who do not realize they are idiots.  You want to try to avoid the latter group, but since we're idiots we tend to engage with them anyway.

Nov 20, 13 10:04 am

I don't think it's a manipulative endeavor to try and understand why your client believes what s/he does. I think it's logical.

Nov 20, 13 10:21 am

@ Will - in a CBD, at a train station, at a shopping mecca, or at an airport, it would be harmless people watching and not be creepy.  It makes the time go by faster, too.  What would be creepy about seeing Stephen Holl walk by, assuming a person didn't know who he was, and most wouldn't, wearing his bright apricot ascot and wondering "who the fuck is this?" 

As for doing this in a work or business setting, it would be manipulative if you are scanning to find holes or weaknesses in a client, contractor, public official, or consultant so you can capitalize on these flaws.  If you are doing it to get the "lay of the land," it would simply be considered being vigilant.  I see no harm in the latter and I recommend it.

Nov 20, 13 12:21 pm

Will, so you don't try to find out what motivates people and then you automatically fill it in with something malignant? I see. How is that going for ya? 

I don't try to find out what people are motivated by so that I can con them. But you would have had to look at my motivation to know that. 

Nov 20, 13 12:33 pm

Block this user

Are you sure you want to block this user and hide all related comments throughout the site?

  • ×Search in: