Notebook for architects
Three graduate architecture students at Columbia University have developed a revolutionary notebook designed specifically for architects. “A:LOG is not just a nifty architect’s notebook,” they say. “It is a thoughtful collection of design and architectural standards packaged into a minimal soft-cover notebook with beautiful dotted paper for drawing. It’s an architectural reference guide that you can bring with you on the go, in the office, or at meetings.”
Learn more about A:LOG Kickstarter campaign after the break!
The trio began to develop the A:LOG after growing tired of lugging around heavy technical guides to repeatedly look up the same information. They were also looking for a way to make on-site sketching easier and to eliminate scaling errors.
Their design solves the first of these problems by being small and compact (8.25″ x 5.9″), with a 30-page design guide at the front that is split up into 5 sections: Design Information (like line weights and font sizes), Building Elements (like door dimensions, window heights), Technical Guidelines (such as egress, ADA, and structure), Architecture References (like magazines and websites), and Living Scenarios (of bedroom, kitchen, living room and bathroom).
They resolved the second problem by designing 130 pages of blank, ready-to-be-drawn-on pages with lightly dotted grids at 1/16th, 1/8th, 1/4th and 1/2 inch scales. There is even a second version of the notebook in the metric system that contains international building codes and dotted grids at 1:200, 1:100, 1:50, 1:25 scales. Although there are many notebooks with gridded pages, A:LOG is the only one that allows sketching at all four scales.
Lastly, form meets function with the A:LOG’s minimalist aesthetic: it has a soft letter pressed cover and “perfect stitch binding,” featuring the highest quality paper and a ruler bookmark insert.
Explorations of a Tower
Q:i'm sorry as i've only just come across your blog through google so i'm not sure if you have posted this before. but any help on choosing an architectural DESKTOP? for example that can cope with 3DSMax/Maya and the usual AutoCAD and Adobe Creative suite. I am in between parts 1 and 2 and really want to progress computer wise, any help would be MUCH appreciated as i'm trying to ask people and no one can help!
This came up 1000 times before and I think I’ve discussed this before on my blog, and I’ve got few questions from Anonymous people asking things like this lately.
So just because there is a face behind, I’ll answer this life long question.
I will tell you my 6 months old PC configuration.
CPU: every ‘new generation’ Intel QuadCore i7 processor, that runs on at least 3.0GHz, but see that is 3.2 - 3.4GHz
RAM: at least 16GB DDR3, but if you work with large 3ds scenes like I do, go with 32GB. The more RAM you have, the better.
GPU: I have NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 with 2GB DDR5, but if you have, money to spend, I’d go with the GTX 690 2GB DDR5.
Motherboard: It depends on the RAM and the CPU, if they are compatible with your motherboard, so here I can’t help you. I’ll leave that to the tech guys, at the shop. But consider FOXconn, if you can get it.
These are the 4 main things you have to worry about and spend 85% of your budget.
Everything else is just a bonus.
+ Get a good and big case, that will have no problem cooling your hardware. I have CoolerMaster and it’s working great so far.
++ And get at least 22” screen, but I prefer 24”.
Oh yea, I almost forgot - DON’T GET A LAPTOP. It won’t do you shit, in the long run.
10 Things They Don’t Tell You About Dating An Architect
1. “Architects make a lot of money.”
This is not true. (But people assume it is.)
2. Architects are used to late nights.
In theory, it shouldn’t be a problem to stay up all night for sexytime. But in reality, they probably pulled an all-nighter last night and are ready to crash at 8 tonight.
3. There is no such thing as a fat architect.
For some reason. I have no idea.
4. Things you never even knew existed are now the most important. thing. ever.
“That is the ugliest f*cking radiator ever”, “How did they not align the light switch with the outlet?” “What’s your favorite kind of hinge?” “What’s your favorite CAD command?”
5. They’re probably anal.
They probably have one of three “systems” for organizing their bookshelves: by color, by size (largest to smallest), by publisher. None of these make any sense and ironically provide the very opposite of “order”, but it doesn’t matter, because it looks better. In fact, they will have a “system” for everything, including organizing the fridge and how to put their clothes away. You might think it’s cute at first, an endearing quirk – until you realize how much of their precious little free time is consumed by obsessing over things that a) no one cares about and b) does not enhance their lives in any way.
6. After a while, you will only hang out with architects.
This happens. Hope you don’t just love your architect, but that you love ALL architects.
7. Architects handle relationship/life stress well.
Because anything is less stressful than a deadline.
8. You won’t get studio.
Prepare yourself for constant references to this mysterious place called “studio” that they spent every waking moment of their college lives in, and never being let on on the inside jokes, with explanations like “you had to be there” or “it was a lot funnier at four in the morning.”
9. They will be coffee snobs.
If it’s not organically grown, economically sustainable and socially consciously harvested, and brewed in a vintage French Press OR a Chemex, chances are, they might politely decline your coffee. Until, four minutes later, they realize they’re caffeine deprived and, ethics be damned, this presentation needs to get to Dubai by 1AM…
10. Architects are passionate, dedicated people.
They didn’t get through 5 years of architectural school by being lazy, indifferent and stupid. (Need a first date conversation starter? Ask them about how many people dropped out of their program freshman year – they’ll be all too proud to tell you that “they were one of the few” who made it out unscathed.”) They know just enough about every culturally relevant artist, philosopher, composer etc to make them seem exceptionally worldly and cultured – your parents should love them. Keep in mind that it’s all a facade (no pun intended!) and that if you were to press them on any one of those topics, they’ll find a way to skillfully manipulate the conversation into some abstract “concept” and avoid being called out on not knowing shit.
10 THINGS ARCHITECTS COULD LEARN FROM IMPROV
1. Teamwork. One can not do it all alone. Sorry divas and Starchitects! Improv teams play well together. Each member of a scene has a purpose and asks themselves, “How can I contribute to the larger picture?” In improv, the better you make your partners look the better you look. Truth is: in improv, everyone is a supporting actor. Hmmm…
2. Play to be creative. Improv actors are trained to play… like when we were kids. If you watch kids play, they are not self conscious. They are uninhibited. They accept, extend, and advance each others play cues. They are open, curious, and laughing. To be creative, in a group setting, particularly in charrettes… if we learn to “accept” one’s ideas, then “extend” it by building on it, and lastly “advance” the idea by basing another idea off of it, we could see more fruitful results.
3. Storytelling. Good improv teams are great storytellers. Architects can learn to communicate the design problem and tell the storied solution from improv actors. After all, how does one take audience suggestions like, “reality TV,” “U2 concert,” and “Leonardo DiVinci” and make it work in a scene!?
4.Performance. Improv can help take stage fright and nerves and use them to your advantage. It will make you fearless. During presentations, own the nerves and don’t forget that every time there is a presentation there is still a need for some performance aspect. One thing I learned from doing improv is that the audience is always rooting for you to succeed. Know that… and check your zipper before hand. If the meeting goes awry, then be confident in having no idea what’s going on.
5. Be agreeable. There is a golden rule in improv called, “Yes, and…” That is, in improv, instead of being able to negate a new idea or direction your partner comes up with, you are required to agree with your partner; and then add information. Doing this takes one from being a listener to a contributor. It advances ideas and dialogue. This can be useful in design charrettes and collaborative settings.
6. Be open-minded. Improv actors can not go into a scene with a preconceived idea and wait to play it. If they do, they will miss some cues and ideas a partner may have thrown out there. And then the scene gets weird. Same goes for design.
7. Justification. In improv there are all sorts of absurdities, mistakes, and contradictions. In a good scene, the actors tie everything together and justify everything. Architects can do the same thing. There are always last minute program requirements that impact massing. We can learn to improvise the design and make sense of changes.
8. Ask questions better. Questions should give more than they take. In fact, don’t ask questions if you can avoid it. Make a statement. There is ownership in a statement. Take a position and see it through.
9. Pay attention to detail. Improv actors listen and observe everything in a scene well. Details lead to the objective. Details will lead architects in developing creative solutions as well. If we are not mindful of details, we will end up just spinning our wheels and making decisions on false pretenses.
10. No agenda for creativity. Set a time a place to be creative. In improv, it’s during a show and the stage is dark and empty. The same could be for architects. Set up a brief time and place. The time shouldn’t be more than 1-1/2 to 2 hours. After that, we lose focus. Shorter, intense meetings are better than longer disheveled meetings. Have a unique place where the creativity can happen. It should be quiet and secluded and permit creativity to occur.
via John Gresko, Project Architect | Chicago, IL, USA
The reason it takes five years to become an architect is, that it takes that long to become that arrogant.
Why Architecture’s Identity Problem Should Matter to the Rest of Us
One of the best posts I’ve ever read about architecture profession.
Perhaps it was the Legos, or watching Mike Brady belly up to his drafting board on TV. In recent months and years, the likes of President Obama, Brad Pitt, Lenny Kravitz, and numerous other public figures have divulged a love of architecture, going so far as to say they once—or still—wanted to be architects. They, like so many of us, have a romantic view of the architecture world.
It makes sense when you stop to think about it: there are few more creative, more transformative, more direct ways to literally make the world a better place. Almost nothing influences the quality of our lives more than the design of our homes, our schools, our workplaces, and our public spaces.
Architecture can enliven and inspire. Three decades ago this year, at the tender age of 21, Maya Lin, then a Yale student, captivated the nation with her minimalist design for the Vietnam Memorial. Her subsequent work has won acclaim the world over.
We need more architects like Maya Lin to lift us up. But there’s a problem: Lin is not considered an architect by the architecture profession itself. You’d think those within her chosen field would at least embrace Lin as an architect—if not as a luminary, an innovator, or even a genius. Instead, the architecture establishment does something astounding, demeaning, and perplexing: they relegate her to the title of “intern” because she focused on making architecture, rather rites of passage.
Earning a diploma from architecture school isn’t enough to be awarded the title of “architect.” Graduates must also complete a multi-year internship and pass a costly seven-part exam, steps Lin skipped because she was spending her time designing. It’s a long, arduous road that many in the field are either unable or simply unwilling to travel. Shaun Donovan, the U.S. Secretary of Housing & Urban Development, who earned his architecture degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Design, isn’t an architect, nor TED Prize winner and showman Cameron Sinclair of Architecture for Humanity. Architecture school deans, firm owners, and countless others aren’t “real” architects either. These people are doing amazing, world-changing work, exactly what we want and need more architects to be doing.
In fact, more than half of architecture school graduates don’t enter the profession. Fewer still get licensed, which means that the majority of the best and brightest are held in professional limbo or exit the profession entirely. This has been the status quo for decades, and it’s time for a change. We, the public, need architecture and dignifying spaces now more than ever.
Lest you think this title stuff is just semantics, think again. The profession and the public are measurably worse off because of this issue. While diversity in architecture schools is comparable to law and other fields, architecture remains one of the most elite and homogenous professions, clinging to institutional barriers that have thwarted gender parity and diversity efforts. Massive resources are spent on bureaucracy instead of nurturing a more representative profession to serve our diverse society, and supporting architects to create better, more vibrant public spaces.
Rather than spending their energy protecting their territory and titles, what if architects and their associations focused on resolving our nation’s housing crisis, improving our schools, or generally creating more inspiring environments for people to live their best lives? With buildings now accounting for almost half of greenhouse gas emissions, we need an army of architects to go back to drawing board and create more environmentally-friendly buildings, rather than an aging few tending to the drawbridge.
I’m not arguing against professional standards, especially not for a profession charged with making sure buildings don’t fall down. Clearly, there must be ways to demonstrate one’s qualifications in architecture or any other field, and an exam is widely regarded as the most reliable way to do so.
The difference is that medical school graduates are universally recognized among their peers and by the public as doctors even before their residencies and subsequent board exams. Graduates of law schools are considered lawyers even before passing the bar. But graduates of architecture school, who have at least five to seven years of schooling, are recognized with the lowly title of “intern.” They are forced into under-compensated internships as well as warned, policed, and even fined by architect-led state licensing boards for infringing on the word “architect” in any way. Is there any wonder why architecture graduates are defecting in droves?
These inequities, when combined with the economic downturn, are pushing greater numbers of graduates out of architecture, and the profession is weaker for it. More importantly, the public is also losing out, as the creative skills of architecture graduates are channeled into an overly bureaucratic process, rather than into solving very real societal challenges.
For years, even the leaders of the high and mighty American Institute of Architects have recommended reforming and broadening the rules of becoming an architect—starting with what we call graduates. Yet year in and year out, nothing changes due to institutional resistance, protectionism, and self-preservation.
It is high time that architecture focus less on enforcement of titles and fortifying its barriers to entry, and more on creating an inclusive profession truly dedicated to the health, the safety, and the welfare of the public.