Staff conversations trend better than I expect, and that’s just fun. When one staff member recently returned from a whirlwind bus tour of the monuments of Europe, she commented first about the grandeur of the old classic cathedrals and coliseums, and then said something about how those buildings took hundreds of years to build and she was glad to be working on something that should be able to be drawn within the month. We talked a little about perspective. And then, we got into integrity.
A buzz word for architects, artists, and most day laborers is “integrity.” It’s difficult, of course, to define, but I like to say that I want it. In public settings, it’s easy to say that we’re not willing to give it up. In our staff meeting today, I asked for confirmation that our current work has it, and I was glad to hear the responses.
We talked about durable materials and high-performing, reliable details, functional design. That’s where I started. From there, the staff went into the basic ability to serve the client’s needs. Their leads thrilled me. Absolutely, that is integrity, following through with commitments, the ability to do work well, within the scope we’ve agreed to approach.
In a car trip, to quote a song, the first mile is the hardest / the last mile is the longest. That song plays well for this profession. Coordinating the team for that first pen-stroke of design takes a surprising burden of persistence. We’re doing significant work, and that work requires commitments, resources, and timing.
And then, before long, we come to a point in the design where we “get it.” We know what we have to do, we know how to do it, we have a framework and we’re building on paper, and we can see the whole picture. And then, as a contractor aptly told me, “All’s left is finishing.” The contractor, by the way, first told me that about two months into a twenty month job.
If ambition, imagination, relationships, and active marketing get you through the persistence to those first steps of design. Integrity keeps you on board until the client has what he asked you to deliver, complete with the capable efforts you convinced him you would provide.
Andy Osterlund AIA | LEED AP
Andrew Osterlund, Architect, PLLC
GREEN | URBAN | SMART ARCHITECTURE
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