Top 37 things architects and constructing architects never say

Architects can be many things but normal. And there any many clich├ęs and stereotypes assigned to them. And stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason. See if you have ever said one of these sentences.

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  1. We are under budget and everything goes according to the schedule.
  2. That contractor really knows what they are doing.
  3. We cannot build that! That would be too expensive.
  4. I slept so long and well tonight.
  5. My partner picked us a nice house from a catalogue. I can’t believe how cheap these houses are. We are going to move in in June.
  6. I can’t decide whether to buy a new car or go on a vacation. Probably both. (That would developer say)
  7. I do not know how this will be supported. That’s an engineer’s job.
  8. I love when clients tell me how to design. It feels like I am not working at all.
  9. You want to spend that much money on it? Half of that will suffice.
  10. That doesn’t matter.
  11. My opinion is not important.
  12. I do not have many books. And what I have is fiction.
  13. I do not care about concrete.
  14. I love doing cost estimations. Monotonous work is so calming.
  15. It took me just an evening to come up with this.
  16. I have lots of different hobbies, which are not related to architecture.
  17. I chose this because it was cheaper.
  18. Can I borrow your pen?
  19. I did not know what to do, so I picked an architecture school.
  20. Living in suburbs is the best.
  21. I do not drink coffee.
  22. I know everything about Revit, it was a piece of cake to learn.
  23. It was my fault, the contractor was just following my drawings.
  24. I do not want to design my own house.
  25. My partner appreciates that I am coming home early every day.
  26. My wardrobe is so colourful. (That would interior designer say)
  27. I can’t believe they are paying me that much for this.
  28. I had plenty of time to design that.
  29. I always know what I am doing. (Well, you might hear that, but it is a lie)
  30. Well, that tree has to be cut. It does not comply with my idea. Besides, there are plenty of them around.
  31. I have just enough architecture from work. Let’s talk about something else.
  32. I had this car for two years. Time for an upgrade. (That would developer say)
  33. Regulations are very important and there is no contradiction in them. Those things are so well thought through. (That would bureaucrat say)
  34. That’s fine, keep it like that. No one will notice.
  35. Hand sketching is overrated.
  36. The project is perfect and I would not change a thing.
  37. I will gladly tell you what I think of your house, my friend.
  38. I don’t need a calculator, I can count it in my head.
  39. LEGO is for kids.
  40. We should ask an interior designer what do they think about this.
  41. I love those cheap pens and pencils from IKEA (Busted, I use IKEA pencils, bummer)
  42. I have so much free time, I think I will start a blog.
  43. How about a compromise?
  44. There is no value in old buildings.
  45. Engineers deserve more credit for what they do.
  46. I love this building how it is.
  47. Let’s just finish this. Forget how it looks like.
  48. I am done.

Do you think I missed any? Write it in the comment section.

Cheers

Ondrej

The morning after exam

The moment we have been waiting for finally passed. The exams started and our group was lucky that we were on the first day, so our suffering was not so long.

I think I have never been more nervous than on this exam day. I have been through many presentations and even a speech or two. And yes, I was nervous, to some extent. It is good to be nervous. It makes you focused. That’s how our bodies work. But this time, it was much more intense. And I think it is because here, we were presenting five months of our life. Five months of hard work and dedication. We spent many hours on our project. And we do not want to ruin it. However, the hard work shows itself. And in my opinion, both exam days went pretty well for our class. 


Our group presentation was scheduled for 50 minutes. The teachers came from lunch little later. And we started the stopwatch. The presentation was flowing quite well, however we were rushing a little. So in the end there were still some time we had to fill. So when I was finishing with our sections, I remembered those who were redlining our sections, those who helped us to spot things that were missing and I told this story to the comitee. I do not remember my exact words because I was just overwhelmed with panic. But I remember hearing myself saying ‘We can say that these sections are not only ours, but also sections of the whole class’. And luckily, teachers stick to the original schedule, so they did not notice our presentation was tiny bit shorter. 

And then, each of us had 15 minutes of personal part of the exam. Again, I was overwhelmed with nervosity, and I could not fill whole 15 minutes with explaining, so the teachers started to ask questions at the end. 

And then, I must say the results surprised me. I would give myself a lower grade, however I am always dissatisfied a bit. It could have been better. It always can. But we did our best.

I spent the second day also at school, so I could congratulate my classmates who were on the second day. 

It was pleasing to see how everybody was relieved when they have finished. I am glad our class did so well and I am proud of us.

Third semester, here we come.

(Oh, and good luck to people from AH22) 

Cheers

Ondrej

Summer plans for Life of a constructing architect

With the exam just around the corner, my attention shifted little more towards it and as a logical outcome, the blog is not what it used to be. 

However, the summer is here and that means I will have tiny bit more time to do things how I want, so today, I will tell you what are my intensions with this blog over summer.

1. Better content

Let’s face it. Some of the blogpost were written in a last minute, at train going to school, or late evenings just before my personal deadline. Ideas for blogposts were sometimes better sometimes worse and the number one thing one can do to attract readers is to provide good content. I will try.

2. LEGO

Several blogpost will probably revolve around LEGO. More specifically LEGO architecture studio. I will share some interesting construction techniques and exercises.

3. Post from Czech republic

I am going to visit my parents in my home country for two weeks, so you can expect some posts about building around my hometown. Especially about the greatest building in the world. But I won’t tell you which one is it. You will have to wait until midsummer.

4. 30 days of 2-minute sketches

For two weeks, I sit down every day for few minutes and sketch. Just very quickly, two minutes, no more, no less. Grab the basic outline of one object from around me and one building. And I would like to wrap it up in one post. If there is some improvement or not.

5. Books

I hope I will have time to read some interesting books about architecture and share something interesting. Another things is, that I am trying to actually write a book. But as you already know, I cannot sketch in a nice presentable way. And also my problem is that I start many different project. But in many cases they remain unfinished. And in order to have a nice book, at least the kind I have in mind, I would have to have nice illustrations and I cannot do that. We will see if I can move with it during summer. I promise nothing.

Oh, and for those who read it all. Good luck at the exams.

Cheers

Ondrej

The joy of anticipation

Many times, people do not appreciate what they have. Commonly, we crave for something and when we finally get it, we have no longer interest in it. We want summer holidays, but get bored after first week. We want challenges and then we get overwhelmed by them. We want to buy a new thing, we are waiting until we can afford it and then when we finally buy it it is no longer so precious to us.

Wasn’t it more interesting when you were waiting for it? The feeling that soon, the thing can be yours. That time when you can nearly touch it, is the most valuable. 

We are always dissatisfied. That fuels the mankind. We always crave for more. This got us to the moon and back. We wanted more, we got it, and now we want even more. And we won’t stop.

And soon, the semester will end. But what then? It is not an end, it is only a small fraction of our life. It is not so important. The life will go ahead, holidays, another semester…Life is not about some magical end when everything will be fine. There is no happily ever after. We have to enjoy today, that is the moment we live in. Do not hope for happy end. Create happy moments every day.

Cheers

Ondrej

Purpose of red pen

Red pen has a special status in a drawing office. It is another tool architects use for a special reason. Redlining. It is a practice of scrutinizing a printed drawing and mark up any mistakes or highlight missing information. 

If you draw on a computer screen, you might miss many things which will get obvious once you print it out. If you are thorough, there will be only small things, however still there will be some. And the first step you can do, before you start bothering other people is to redline your own work. Just the shift from a screen to paper is enough to wake you up and these small errors will show themselves.

And with the exam right around the corner, my section went through this procedure as well. So far, two teachers and six classmates left a mark on my section.


And thanks to all of them, my section looked better with every line of red they have left on it. And you can also see that the process never stops. Every person focuses on another aspect of the drawing. The things teacher point out might be missed by your classmates, who, on the other hand, see something the teacher overlooked.

And it is a great exercise for both sides. When you redline drawing of someone else,  you will learn to see things. And being observant is one of the things architects should be good at. 

And with that number of drawings printed in last few days, there were many opportunities to hone a skill of redlining. It was not unusual to see group of people hunched over a drawing, all of them pointing out different things here and there, comparing used standard for drawing or making suggestions how to improve our design.

And by this, we were all learning.  

Happy redlining

Ondrej 

City of Corten

One of the materials I always admired for its inherent rough beauty is weathering steel. Also known by its trademarked name ‘Corten’. It is a steel alloy which forms a stable rust surface if exposed to the weather. This eliminates the need for protecting it by painting. Its popularity in Denmark might be caused by a fact that it would be quite expensive to paint steel, because of the high labour cost. This lead to the spread of the use of Corten. However, its place of origin is the USA. In 1933 Corten was patented by U.S. Steel. Today, weathering steel is also known by the brand name Patinax and others and is produced worldwide.

As a material, corten radiates both strength, as is common for metals, and the beauty of passage of time. The oxide layer on its surface, commonly known as rust, gives the building appearance of a titan, standing in its place for centuries. Earthy brown reddish tones, which may differ, depending on the local climate, anchors the building to its place. It can be used for many purposes such as a structural steel or cladding. Another important use is also for many outdoor sculptures.

And during a few days in my current hometown, I captured many examples how Corten can be used. And I was not even looking for it. I was just casually cycling to the work or Danish courses and all these examples were just popping at me at every corner. I felt like Alice in Wonderland, so many great examples, eye-candies and textures.

There is a cinema clad in corten panels with cut sign with the names of famous cities connected with movie industry.

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Corten can be used as landscaping tool. In a park near Vejle Municipality, Corten plates hold the ground, where the path cuts through the moulds of grass.

Corten can be cut to produce different patterns, as seen at this fence, dividing the street and back of the parking area with dumpsters.

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Another park in Vejle incorporates Corten oculus.

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And patterns cut into corten.

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There is also a shopping mall ‘Bryggen’. Whole clad in Corten plates.

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Detail of Vejle’s coat of arms carved to a bridge over Grejs river in the city center.

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Sculpture in one of the side alleys running parallel to the main shopping street.

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And the cover of drainage channels.

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And those are examples just from Vejle. Small, town in Jutland. And even here, we can spot many great architectural pieces. It is not big and pompous architecture, however, it is an example of clever use of materials and principles in local context. The city combines old with new and is not afraid of changes. This attitude allows the city to grow and adapt to the future instead of dwelling in the past. And the Corten might be seen as a symbol of it.

Cheers

Ondrej

Seven circles of architectural hell

Oh boy, here we go again. And this time with proper number. Catalogue houses. Nemesis of every architect. As I promised a month ago, here are some more pictures from the catalogues. And these should be there as a raised finger for anyone who wants to build a house.

Building a house is for most of the people the biggest investment in their lifes. And the amount of the money spent on buying or building a house can be very high. But everyone who wants to build its own fortress cannot be blinded just by a good price. The most important thing is the value you will get for your hard earned money.

Perfect house for a twins who married other twins. So for about 4/7 000 000 000 of people. For everyone else, this is a no go. Who would be the other family you would like to live with?

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And be careful not to get decapitated.

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Who had the idea to put a toilet at the front door? And I mean, literally, just a meter from an entrance? This toilet is clearly for the use of a guest. And the number one thing your guests probably want is privacy. The basic rule should be that the line of sight to the toilet doors should be broken. So in case you need to use the toilet, you won’t be seen. And here, you are literally a step away not only from the front door, but also from the living room on the left. So, good luck with an unseen escape from a fancy dinner to a toilet. Let’s just hope there is some proper and LOUD fan installed, so homeowners can only guess what are you doing just two meters away.

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And here are two houses for the fans of morning jog from bedroom to the kitchen. Especially the second one. If you wake up and you are having the breakfast as the very first thing as I do, you have to overcome ten meters long hall, turn right go thought the living room and dining area and back right to the kitchen. Better have a minibar by the bed, so you won’t get dehydratated on the way. Circulation around spaces is essential. Imagine you have to go this way at least twice a day. And what if you are afraid of dark? You should only get this house if you want to rent it to the producers of cheap horror movie, because that is the only place where you can see a hallway this long.

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This should be labelad as ‘How not to do zoning in a single family house’, but surprisingly, someone accidently put it into a catologue of houses you can buy. This layout ruins the sexual life of both the parents and the children alike. Just imagine that your parents are doing their bussiness right behind the wall. And they are probably trying to be very quiet in order not to raise any suspicions, so the only time they can really get it on is when you are on a school trip and that is sad. Or we can put it the other way around. One meter from your head, right behind the wall, your teenage son or daughter are exploring their bodies and maybe watching some naughty websites. The other children room has at least the buffer zone from the closet.

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Another example of toilet right next to the front door in a pretty long hallway. And the bathroom even has a shower. So the eventual guest can even wash themselves. If you are the homeowner who wants to use this bathroom. You have to go right next to the front door. You know, that place with dirty shoes, which are probably placed right next to the bathroom doors.

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Why to have a separate doors to the office and bedroom when you can have tiny two square meter hall between them. And when you want to go in either of them, you have to open and close two doors instead of one. Brilliant.

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Ugh, I hope these warning were enough to discourage you to buy a house from the catalogue. And the examples were both from Denmark and Czech Republic. And I believe it is the same around the world. Be careful what are you buying. Especially when it is a house for the rest of your life. Think of your family.

Cheers

Ondrej