Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Practice Makes Perfect?

On my way out the door this morning, I happened to pass a neighbor I had not previously met coming back in from walking his dog.  We talked briefly, and, among other things, he quite naturally asked me what kind of work I do.

I told him, "I am in architecture."

He said, "So do you...actually build stuff?..."

How ironic, I thought to myself.  I just wrote an article dealing with this very thing.

I actually thought about telling him, "I design buildings," mostly because I did not feel I could sum up who an architect is before his eyes started to glaze over.  But I quickly realized that the only way to become skilled at answering these kinds of questions is not to descend into what would be, for me, rank hypocrisy, but to practice.

What I ended up telling him was, "An architect guides the owner through the process of designing the building, bidding it out to builders or negotiating with a builder the owner wants to use, and constructing the building.  So during construction, an architect's job is to make sure the building is being built according to plan."

Not too bad.  A little long, perhaps.  Maybe next time I will be able to touch on the "Protect" part of the "Guide and Protect" equation before my time expires.

I think my rambling summary achieved a part of its purpose, though, because my neighbor said, I believe genuinely, "That sounds really interesting.  It sounds like you have to know a lot."

Yeah, I thought, including how to describe our own purpose.

Above All:

"He who observes the wind will not sow,
      and he who regards the clouds will not reap." 1
 - "The Preacher," ancient king of Israel, who, although his identity is disputed, clearly tried everything.

Did You Know...?

The architect's responsibilities to the owner are laid out in the standard Owner-Architect Agreement form (B101), published by the American Institute of Architects (AIA)?  In other words, using the AIA standard agreement helps the owner understand exactly what he is paying the architect to do, from beginning to end, thereby avoiding unnecessary disputes!


Footnotes:
(1) Ecclesiastes 11:4 ESV