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Thursday Recap – Maintenance

9/21/23 Foundation Wild Turkey Rare Breed

Thursday recap, whiplash, and still a long way from Friday milestones. Started the week with payroll, mid-week with meetings about process, finally today, finding a groove, drawing a thing in Bluebeam; keeping the balls in the air; supporting the crew.

Architecture has turned into ping-pong, with a table and tournaments in the office. I don’t know what that means, a way to blow off steam (do we have that much steam?) Standing up at the end of the day-we have stuff to do, but – we’re waiting, we’re waiting for impact, something to kick in.

Public work is working, it’s enough, maintenance, fixing the roof, the gigantic roof that we have to print on F-size sheets, it’s good work, we’re good at it, we’re helping, we care, we’re engaged. We’re having to invent our own spark.

Lots of work about people, reading books about leadership, bringing people up (waiting for the interest rates to go down.) It’s a cycle, it’s a pattern, it’s good for our team – our team is everything, our team changes, we look around, it’s different people, people, people, people.

But what about the architecture? I look downtown, the buildings are holding up pretty well, the sidewalks are taking a beating. Politics, free bus rides, empty retail, watching small groups in suits with dollar-signs in their eyes, fly-ins, sit downs – now’s the time. Looks like Raleigh’s for sale. (Did I say that out loud?)

Let’s get these schools working, let’s get these roofs fixed. Easier said than done. We met with an architect this week who’s ready to retire. (I almost forgot.) We showed him photos of projects from the early days:

Piebird, Person Street, Raleigh c.2013

Pie Bird, Fiction Kitchen, Cafe de los Muertos- passion projects, sparks that we catch and draw with joy – three projects built on principal alone, two projects shut down when the tax man came around — one still standing, and expanding, but not the one I would have picked back then. Those projects were a long time ago, but I loved the spark, and I did lovee those pies, and I learned to drink espresso, and I still don’t like fake meat, even with a gourmet touch.

People, people, people. Saw an old staff member last week, passing through, took him out to lunch. He went to Portland, got a job, changed his life, headed back across the pond. People move quickly, projects are slow, cities change while you’re sitting still.

It’s a season of cancelling meetings. Short story is: that’s positive. People have things to do, people are tending to shop. I’m tending to the shop, it’s positive, team building, sharpening the saw. (I thought we did this in 2020.)

Long story is what I don’t want to think about, it’s where I put my faith in something higher. Long story is that we need to remember how to invent and not just to tend the ground. We need to believe in Creation – and that’s the very long story, that might take a couple generations, again, and that’s the long time to wait. Add, I don’t mind being the guy to talk about it while the apps try to catch up, that’d be great to talk it out. and draw.

We are stuck in CAD standards, the desert wasteland of all design firms. It’s restructuring, its cataloging, it’s finding a way to re-use what were drawn before. It. is not invention, it’s the opposite, but CAD standards is compiling the toolkit, it’s what all firms know how to do when were not busy enough, and it reminds us: a) that we should have done this a long time ago, and b) that were planning to grow until the next wave hits.

Waiting for a call, is second-worst to re-scheduling a meeting, pentultimate. Rescheduling is like, let’s just talk this out already. Look, here’s what I think we should do. Yes, l’m a professional, yes, you need to keep your day job, that’s the only way we’re going to get through this.

Development, I’m afraid to say, almost, in my experience, as I’ve observed to-date, has to be a full-time job. It’s equivalent to “abandon all hope.” It’s Rodin’s “Thinker” considering eternity. Development is: no other options, and you hope the timing is right.

Development – I don’t want to admit – is the same as writing or photography, or, egad, music – you can and must do development only if you have no other options, and then you have a chance.

To the Orthodontist who is thinking about being a developer, here we are again rescheduling your meeting.

I can wait, you can wait, and that land will stay undeveloped. The property value will increase, Ownership is key, you and we don’t have to do anything at all, but the next steps are all risk. How about it? Let’s just draw and see where this goes.

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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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