Spend time to save time

Investment. Many people imagine buying properties, stocks or gold. But there is one commodity, which has much higher value. A commodity that is extremely hard to buy. A commodity that is usually insanely expensive. Everyone has more or less the same amount at birth, and we are spending it every second. Time. Do you wonder why rich people take a helicopter from the airport to city centre? Does it seem like an unnecessary luxury to you? They know they can make more money, the time is, however, merciless. Both rich and poor are spending it at the same rate. And that is why rich people try to save as much of time as possible. Nobody can get the time back.

However, there is a way to save time. And we are getting back to the first sentence. Investment. What if I tell you there is a way to save time? It is not a secret. But it takes some time now, to save some time in the future. I will give you an example. I spent last few days making templates. Many different types. This semester we calculated required sizes of beams and columns. It takes between 15 to 30 minutes to calculate one. And I spent one afternoon (3 hours), making an excel spreadsheet, which reduces this time to around 2 minutes. By a simple calculation we can assume that after calculating twelve beams, I have my investment back. I invested 3 hours in saving many minutes next semester. This also allows me to try different sizes of beams in a quick succession and that can result in more efficient design.

Yesterday, I spent the evening making my own custom Revit template. I looked back to this semester project Revit file. Looked for things I spend a long time adding and arranging. Line styles, hatching patters, reinforcement bars. And I added those to my template. Changed few things that help with readability of drawings. And I am planning to further upgrade it when it will be necessary.


This rule can apply to many things which follow the same algorithm every time. Next time I could improve my U-value excel calculator, heat loss calculator or anything else that I might use in the future. Also, our structural design teacher made many useful templates for calculating self-weight, wind loads and snow loads. So we do not have to calculate it by hand. There is also many useful software which can help you every day. For me, this software is Beamax for beams, Finnwood for light floor partitions. Calculating many things by hand would be impossible. However, someone has spent many hours creating a computer software. And their hours are saving you many hours.Výstřižek

In general, the rule is simple. Always think ahead. Whenever you do something, try to do it that way, so you do not have to ever do it again. At least not for the same time. Automatization is the key. Spend time to save time.






(Not so glamorous) day in a life of ATCM student

If you ever wondered (probably not but I am going to tell you anyway) how does a day in life of a constructing architecture student looks like, look no further. One ordinary Thursday, few weeks before exam, I have noted every activity I went through during the day and took some photos. So now you can get an overwiev, what do I do during normal school days.

6:25 Wake up

Since it is June, the sun in Denmark rises around 4:45 in the morning. Therefore when my alarm rings, I am already fully awake and ready to start my day.

6:32 Have a breakfast

The very first thing I do is to have a breakfast, as I have written in breakfast deconstructed…..
6:53 Leave Life of a constructing architect HQ……link

7:03 Take a bus number 5 to Vejle Trafikcenter

The sun is shining and I am ready to start my journey to school. The ride to the Trafikcenter takes around 10 minutes.

7:29 Take train to Horsens

The trains are very comfortable and only rarely late. It takes 15 minutes to get to Horsens

7:50 Take bus number 1 or 2 to VIA university

The last leg of my voyage is another 15 minutes ride with bus. During the traveling both to and from school I either read, brainstorm ideas for this blog or look for eye candies and interesting articles on instagram/twitter.

8:08 Arrival to school

8:20 Global days with danish students

First two lessons today were dedicated to cooperation with students, who study the same programme as we do, but in Danish. We showed each other one of our details and gave some useful comments to them. We also translated our details. So now I have my favourite eave detail in Danish.

9:42 Calculation of a column

I got to our classroom and started finishing static journal. I improved my Excel spreadsheet with calculation and I added it to our static journal.

10:07 Finishing of our static journal

I did some final touches on our static journal. Formatting and hyperlinks to different chapters.

10:27 Calculation of energy frame

I got interupted by building services teacher. He explained more about software used for calculation of the energy frame. However, this semester we only need to calculate design transmission loss and we have done that already.

12:07 Lunch

I ate lunch I prepared for myself the day before and I talked little bit with people around.

12:41 Finishing static journal again

I got the last piece I was missing from my groupmate and I finally can say that structural design for this semester is done.

12:57 Discussion about price of graphite polystyrene with Kristyna

Comparing the prices of standard and graphite polystyrene and few quick calculations.

13:21 Site plan

I finally got to finish the site plan I started yesterday. I added some details, legend and levels. I showed it to our teacher and then added some more things. 

16:00 Leaving school

At 4 o’clock sharp I left the school to get back to Vejle to work.

16:15 Taking bus number 1 or 2 to Horsens Trafikterminal.

As usual, the bus was quite late.

16:41 Train to Vejle

The train arrived on time, but it was full, so I had to sit on the stairs. I summed up last few hours for the blogpost you are reading now.

16:56 Arrival to Vejle Trafikcenter

I arrived to Vejle and did a quick grocery shopping, since I will not have much time tommorow.

17:15 Arrival to work

My shift begins. I help in the kitchen of Vejle Sushi Hus. We were pretty busy today, so I am quite exhausted. On the other hand, I find it relaxing not to have to think about anything and just quickly manually work. And I love sushi, which is also healthy.

20:33 Bus number 5 home

I usualy end at 8 o’clock, sometimes later, when it is needed.

20:47 Arrival home

21:07 Editing this article for publishing (boooooring)

21:49 Shower

21:55 Sunset in Denmark

22:04 Go to bed

Dreaming…maybe I can design something tommorow…





Mistakes as a learning tool

I remember that at the beginning of the first semester our communication teacher asked us about being a student. Particularly who do we think is a good student, what traits should they have. I answered that student should not be afraid of making mistakes, because in the end, sometimes only by getting it wrong four times, they can get it right on the fifth time. She nodded and asked me if I am afraid of making mistakes. I said no. 

I lied. 

I hate making mistakes. At least showing my mistakes. I do not want to show any weakness. I brought this trait from my home country. The education system in the Czech republic is based on right or wrong. There is no middle ground. I always learned the facts, algorhytms and definitions and then got most of them right.

In life, however, many times there is no right or wrong. It is more like ‘good, adequate, better, not so good, could be better, optimal or perfect’ and everything in between.

And suddenly here in Denmark, we are nearly forced to make mistakes. Nobody tells us how things should look like. We must figure everything on our own. I still hate making mistakes, but I am getting used to them. I enjoy the procces of making. I value high every colleague of mine with whom I can disscuss our design solutions. If they are at least adequate, if they could be improved. People ask me about advice every day and I ask them. I look carefully around me and make notes in my head who knows what and when the time comes and I need an advice I know who to look for. 

And this whole process is there for us, so we learn things now, and not make them when they will actually cost real money. Now in our project, the only money we can make and our clients can spend are monopoly money. And for this money we are working hard every day. But we are getting one priceless thing with that as well. Wisdom.

And if it is true that you are more clever for every mistake you make, we will be so clever at the end of our studies.



Amazing day in LEGOland 

The weather was amazing last week, so my girlfriend and I decided spontaneously to visit the birthplace of LEGO. The birthplace of LEGO is a town of Billund in the middle of Denmark, and that is about 30km from the town we live in. 

When we arrived, we were amazed. So much LEGO bricks everywhere, so much sun and at the entrance, song ‘Everything is awesome’ from The LEGO movie was playing. We were overwhelmed by the beauty. Everything was so bright and amazing. Great place to be even for twenty years old kids as us.

We started our tour at the true heart of the LEGOland. The heart of every LEGOland is the Miniland, park with LEGO models of various sizes. In Billund we have seen Billund airport.

Famous Copenhagen street, Nyhavn.

Port of Copenhagen.

Dioramas from Star Wars.

And much more. There was a Kennedy space center, skyscrapers, few different towns of Scandinavian region and many landmarks from Denmark and various parts of the world. 

Every detail on these models is very carefully executed. The longer you look at the miniature world, the more details you see. It must have taken hours and hours of work, not just the building of these models, but also the maintenance of all of them. There are even miniature bonsai trees and because I tried to plant and keep few bonsai trees alive (unsuccesfully) I know how hard it is. There are even miniature hedges beside tiny parks and promenades and everything is alive. There is also usually some kind of piece count, so you can read how many bricks were used to build each model.

However, that is only a small part of the LEGOland. The whole park consist of different zones which correspond to different themes LEGO released. Some of them are already retired, some of them are still on sale.

One of the zones is for example LEGO Ninjago zone.

Here you can try a ride which uses 3D glasses and motion sensor. When you ride around the complex, there are monsters attacking you and you have to do ninja moves to lunch projectiles to defeat them. 

Or you can try to avoid deadly lasers at Lloyds laser labyrint. The funny part is that some people behind you at the queue actually see when you go to the laser hall and they may judge you. So as a true ninja I was jumping and rolling on the floor and even though I was hit I bet I left an impression with my silly ninja wannabe style. 

The absolute highlight of the visits were the most adult rollercoasters. The Arctic X-plorer and X-treme racers. Both are thrilling and the first time on both of them was quite scary. When we ended the first ride though, we knew we needed to go again. So in the end we went on Arctic X-plorer at least five times. Another great part is the Ice pilots school. The concept is brilliant, you get a card and you scan it at the computer and there you can choose what you want to experience on a giant robotic arm which can spin you around and upside down, sideways or rotate. Your choice and you are responsible for it. I started at level 3 out of five and then went back once again for level 4. And maybe next time I will dare to try some trick from level 5.

Luckilly, the season is just beginning so there were not so many people and we never waited more then 5-10 minutes. In the season I can imagine the park filled with people and the waiting times could probably be much worse.

And at the end of the day, we knew that we would still need at least one more day to fully enjoy everything the park can offer. We haven’t been to all rides and we could ride the X-plorer many times until we would get bored by it. And there were many things we missed, 4D cinema, The Dragen, Safari, Sea life. I could even spend a whole day just looking at all the tiny detail at the Miniland. There is simply so many amazing things to do and see.

Because of all this I really recomand to visit LEGOland if you are either; LEGO fan, kid up to 99 years old. You are guaranteed to experience a lot of fun and you will feel much younger than you really are. Plus the atmosphere is jolly. Everybody aroud you is having fun as well and the collective spirit is great. The employees are supernice and funny and they seem to enjoy the work, even though it must be hard. They are bringing joy to so many people. The LEGOland is a special place and everybody should feel it once in their life.



Symptoms of being an architect

As a student of architectural technology, I developed a number of peculiar habits. And I think and hope I am not alone. Being an architect means to notice certain things. Professional deformation. And I am at it for just an eight months now.  What will happen in a year or two? And because of that observation, I made a list of symptoms, you may observe on yourself, if you study architecture/constructing architecture or if you are already an architect.


If you came home after a long workday spent by drafting and calculating cost of construction only to watch youtube video of how to execute a perfect level 5 drywall finish to unwind.

You are probably an architect:


If you stop on your way to work to take a photo of interesting brickwork bond pattern.

You are probably an architect


If the first thing you notice in a restaurant is an arrangement of the tables and workflow of the waitress.

You are probably an architect


If you read through catalogue of homes to point out the atrocities they are making.

You are probably an architect


If you spend terrible amount of time at work/school and still love what you do.

You are probably an architect


If you plan your trips around interesting buildings.

You are probably an architect


If you think that few construction mistakes always happen and it is not hard to just hide them.

You are probably a contractor


If you hate when your friend asks what do you think about their house.

You are probably an architect


If your books consist of 70% of pictures.

You are probably an architect


If you plan your day in 30 minutes intervals.

You are probably a construction manager


If you buy LEGO for yourself, or if you have children just as an excuse to buy LEGO.

You are probably an architect


If you have a nailgun in your van.

You are probably a carpenter


If you did not get a proper amount of sleep for at least three days.

You are probably an architect


If your closet is mainly monochromatic.

You are probably an architect


If you have more than two calculators in your drawer.

You are probably an engineer


If you have your personal favourite type of pen.

You are probably an architect


If you have a nice car, lots of money in your bank account and 6 weeks of holiday per year.

You are probably a developer


If you dream of designing a high-rise.

You are probably an architect


If your family is getting tired of listening to your observations about traffic, circulation, and accessibility of buildings you get into.

You are probably an architect


If you know the difference between a party and a parti.

You are probably an architect


If you want to design your own house.

You are probably an architect


If your smallest unit of measurement is centimeter and even 10 centimeters off is still ‘okay’.

You are probably a subcontractor


If you think hand drafting is the best way of drafting and complain about our reliance on computers.

You are probably an old architect


If the software on your computer is worth more than used car.

You are probably an architect


Have you identified yourself with some of these statements? Can you think of more examples of professional deformation? Leave me a comment, I would like to hear about them.





How I built the wall

Today, I would like to recall, what I did last summer. The idea sparked because I have been very busy recently, since presentation of our project is getting closer each day. And the time I am going to talk about was one of the most tranquil in my life. I spent around two week in southwestern France volunteering on a construction of an old mill.

It was some kind of Erasmus programme, and my girlfriend and other classmates, who were learning French at that time, were invited by our class teacher. I was learning German, but since nobody wanted to go, I could. So, in the end there were 4 of us going to France. My girlfriend, me and two more guys. And it ended up as a great group! We had so much fun together. Those who know me would tell you how boring I usually am, but since those two guys we were with were so hilarious, they kind of overrided my usual grumpiness.

I also spend those two weeks nearly completely without phone, computer or any other electronic device, since there were just a few places to charge these. And surprisingly, I did not need it. It was strange at first, but I quickly got used to it. And that is also the reason why there are only around 4 photos of that time. And I am going to show you all.

We lived in the second tent from right side. We slept in a sleeping bag. Camping experience. There were around 40 people at once and we took turns in cooking for the whole camp. When was our turn, we simply wrote what we needed and someone got into the car and went shopping to the nearest town.


Here is one of the buildings of the mill. Some of us were working on a scaffolding there, repairing the gable.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

But my job was little back away. I was repairing the stone wall around the plot. Or more like one tiny part. Like two meter long part. And there were usually 3 of us working there, and it took us two weeks. Why is that? Every stone had to be ‘beautiful’. One of the guys who was running the place was very particular about the stones we could use, so we spend hours just chiping stones so they look ‘beautiful’. I learned how to mix mortar. Take a wheelbarrow, add sand, cement, lime and water. Mix it with shovel. Nothing fancy. Just plain old hand work. And so we were slowly building this wall. I do not have any photos of it. But it is there. At least I hope. It should survive few decades at least. I am pretty proud of it.

And this is the photo of all the workers together.


It was a peaceful time. However it is long time ago.


Only memories and that one wall still remain. I have new challenges in front of me. And I need to face them and not dwell on time long gone. Let’s finish what we have started.



Fighting complexity

I like simple things. Minimalistic design. Basic food. Subtle clothing. I love order, regularity and routine. I eat same breakfast every day. I hate unexpected. I want my life aligned. Despite this, during last months, my life got out of control. The school is more demanding. And I begged for it. In the first semester, we were basically told what to do, step by step. Now we are more or less on our own. And that is better. I love it and I hate it at the same time. It is a big burden. And the worst part is that the only one we answer to are ourselves. It is our future we are building.

And since I always try to be “glass half full” type of a guy, I must say I am glad for all of this. My friend once told me that if you are the cleverest person in the room, you are in the wrong room. From then, I was always searching for rooms in which I could find people who are better than me so I can learn from them. And now, in our class, facing all these challenges, I found people who are brilliant. Some do this and some do that. There are people who are better than me at something, and I hope I am at least pretty good at something else. And as I wrote. Nowadays, architecture is collaboration. And that is awesome.

On Thursday, second semester had so-called “international day”. We joined our danish friends in the second semester. And each of use brought one detail for a scrutiny. And I was super lucky, since I got a great and experienced guy. He already worked in the industry for some years and he knew everything. At least I got that feeling. He helped me with my eave detail (the one I am most proud of) and we made small improvements together. So you can expect I will show you completed detail soon. By the way, I hope my teacher will be satisfied with this since he was very sceptical at first when he heard my intentions. Well, we will see.

However, the point I am trying to make (and I am drifting away from) is that my life is overwhelmed. Let’s do some math. Since that is what architects do. Statistics.

My week has the same number of hours as everybody’s, 168.

School 4×8 hours = 32 hours

Travelling to school and work 4×3 hours = 12 hours

Work 12 hours

Sleep 56 hours

Danish course 4 hours

So far 52 is left

Writing this blog. I would say uncountable. But give or take I would say 3×3 hours. Yes, I am that slow. And the quality doesn’t match. Bummer. So 9 hours in total.

We are down to 43 hours

Since the deadlines from school are being put more densely. And the detail we have been doing two weeks in the first semester, 10 days in the beginning of this semester, we are now given only a week. So I am usually finishing it on Sunday, closer to deadline than I would like. That is another 3 hours.

We are down to 40.

Then my guess is circa 10 hours for various things required to keep our household running. Shopping for groceries, preparing snack and lunch, cooking, washing the dishes and clothes and so on.

We are down to 30.

And that’s it. No more excuses. Seems like I still have some reserves. To care about my girlfriend. To skype with my family. To read. To do sports.

So to make a conclusion from all of this. I will try to get little bit more on track. Since the summer is slowly creeping to Denmark, I am going to put on my summer outfit. I have around 10 white t-shirts in my wardrobe. And as a part of embracing minimalism I am going to wear white t-shirt and jeans everyday. So if you meet me, remember that it is different t-shirt than I had the day before. Or is it? You never know. 

Another conclusion would be, that I always lived like this. If I have more than 2 days free I get impatient and irritated. Doing nothing is not for me. Even though, the line between being productive and overworked is thin. 

And here I am, finishing this post while riding a train to school, so I can visit the building site today. And I am going to get home after work, that is after 9 in the evening. 

To being productive! Cheers