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Waiting for the mail

September 28, 2023 Foundation Eagle Rare, NC Single Barrel

Writing two weeks in a row – on a good week, it’s progressive, it’s part of the story, it’s all uphill from here.

On a week like this, it’s about staring at the screen. Have we said already that Architecture is also waiting?

We don’t want to admit or express – a week like this, it’s as basic as waiting for the mail. We have two daily mail deliveries – we check in the morning, we check in the afternoon. We hire people to check the mailbox, and open the envelopes, but I’m the one waiting, my work is waiting. It’s not that I would want to do if I had a choice. (why don’t I have a choice?) But it’s what I choose to do first.

And the email filters are so successful that for the first time in my career, I’m waiting for email, like watching a pot boil, and this is architecture.

What are we waiting for-is that even a question? Its compulsion, I am waiting to be moved. For all my talk about inspiration and the response to ambition, I am bored, I am waiting for inspiration, I am waiting for an event that will move my city and my family forward.

We had two of those calls today. With experience, maybe, (and business partners), comes skepticism, comes seeing the downside of a phone call (aren’t all phone calls bad news?)

The calls today were fun. Can we make a profit? No clue. Do they know what they’re doing? Obviously not, who are we kidding? Do they need an architect, yes, a thousand percent, or, they need to not tell me what they want to do, either one. If we’re in, they need to commit. They want me to commit, but this is my job. I write the contract, I sign it first, and then they negotiate. Let’s cut that part off at the knees.

I don’t want to tell sad stories, I want to tell comedies instead of tragedies. I want to tell stories where the main characters get married at the end and start their adventure. That’s what I believe Architecture is! Architecture is comedy, Architecture is the first day of the rest of your life, but the part I see is the waiting. “When is this going to be done?”

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Ocean Ridge Center, Ocean Isle Beach, NC 2023 – Photo Credits to Thomas Construction.

If I could pick my clients, (Why can’t I pick my clients?) If I could pick my phone calls (100% I can pick my phone calls, I do it all day long.) I want the phone calls that don’t say, ‘When will this be done?’ but instead, ‘When can we begin?’

We have phone calls when we wait to start. That’s better, that’s okay. We can get a loan against the future. We can plan ahead. We can wait through the waiting. But, I do need to find something to do.

The future looks good. Today, I’m staring at my email and trying to get home on time. 

Practical Notes

I’m remembering how to train new staff, all credit to the staff, of course. Drawing a building is like telling a story. After you introduce the characters, start with the end in mind.

The AIA and CSI partnership is a moment of peace and resolution, that the world is want to recognize, and it’s the secret to [our] success.

At Schematic Design, we draw the plan, we engage the client, we get the ideas on paper. We draw sheets A100 and A200.

At Design Development we work things out as quickly as we can. Meetings are extraord­inarily dull. the gist is — is this going to work? Yes, of course it is going to work, give me something hard to do.

And then Construction Documents, start with the end in mind. Draw a door schedule, I’m serious, fill in every open space and see if, by the end, you haven’t resolved the entire project, accidentally. Sheet A601, door schedule, window schedule, the thousand things you have to think about, all coming at you like archers from a castle. Stand up for yourself, fight back, push ahead to the A500 details, now you’re in the game, now the tide is turning, ready to scale the wall …

Wall sections, easy answers, just diagrams really, you already made these decisions, anything you forgot?Okay, keep moving ahead.

A300 sheets, building sections, are you kidding? Of course we’re insulating this building, maybe we’re thinking about fire barriers, but remember that time we built the door schedule? By the time we’re back around to the plans and elevations (A100 and A200), we’re back in familiar territory, easy answers, we’re professionals.

What, you want to make a change? Let’s talk this through, let me help you out and tell you how he got here!

Thats working, and it’s fun. New staff, staff reminders, self-reminders, it’s a pleasure. Next project, lets go.

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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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