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blogpost – more coffee

Rainy Monday mornings, cliché, cliché, cliché, existential internal conflicts, laziness vs. ambition, purpose vs. practice, definitions of success and the things we decide to do in spite of those definitions.

I bought my cup of coffee this morning as an act of protest, a rage against the machine, obviously passive aggressive. After morning meetings at the club, I’ve already had a cup and a half, and the bitter effect is on that one corner of my tongue that club coffee reaches. I wasn’t ready to go to the office, I couldn’t do it . . . yet. A day like this takes more drive, more deliberate action than club coffee can sustain.

When I walked in to the Times, all credit to the staff, I took my place in line, behind the guy trying to clearly express his order, and with a nod to the barista, my standard cup was already in process. It’s too hot for me to drink, I’m not ready for it, but it’s here, and I’m sitting somewhere where “everyone knows my name,” cliché, cliché, cliché.

We watch our clients pursue their dreams and trust their own expertise far enough that they take the enormous risks and expense of construction. We give imprecise advice, we draw what we believe is beautiful in context, we convince the authorities that it’s safe, and we all shake hands and hope for the best. I’ve said before that I believe that my job in large part is to champion my clients, to be that voice of optimism in an entirely unpredictable environment. The only things I can control are those things I can draw, and yet with a real sense of planning, we can expect a practical level of influence.

But the club conversation today was about coffee, about statistics and success, about a progressive sales pattern that generates revenue long after the first pitch. It’s profits without place, the antithesis of what we do, and for a moment of conversation, I was entirely lost. And yet, I believe the stories, and we congratulate the success, although it’s not what we do.

I’m walking into a meeting this morning with a restaurant owner who works very, very hard. In fact, I haven’t met a restaurant owner who doesn’t. My first job is to convince her that I understand, and that I will promise to work, maybe half as hard as she does. I’ll never impress her while I keep my hands clean, but I think we can get along, and I’m looking forward to my role.

And with that emotional complex, with the diverse and disparate contrast among the roles in this town, with the better coffee reaching more flavor receptors on my tongue, the rain outside looks less intimidating, and I’m ready to go in.

Have a good week, please stop in soon.

Andrew Osterlund AIA LEED AP

OsterlundHall Architects||||

19 W. Hargett St., Suite 700

Raleigh, North Carolina 27601


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Osterlund Architects is a full-service architecture and interior design firm, committed to our clients and their work from concept through construction, and through to their next opportunity. Our firm has expertise in all project phases, including programming, pre-design and planning through construction administration and closeout, as well as interior design, including furniture, fixtures and equipment (FFE) services.

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