“What do you do” is always an odd question for me to answer because describing everything that goes on for me day to day is nearly impossible. The reason it’s almost impossible is that each day is so wildly different. No two days are ever the same, we’re constantly tackling new and varied problems, and that’s one of the things I love about the profession. Yet having just passed the one year mark of working here at MSB Architects, I thought I would attempt the impossible.
Scott has written previously about the stages of architectural careers and what each entails, I’m currently embarked on the journey to licensure. That means I’m gaining experience in the field and fulfilling 3,740 hours of required internship time while studying for six exams that I will have to pass before I can get my stamp and officially be considered an architect. Meanwhile, the MSB docket is full of varied tasks, as my stack of Monday morning meeting to-do lists can attest.
Every Monday we of MSB Architects gather to go over tasks for the week with handy-dandy project lists. They fill up quickly!
One day there are three separate client meetings, all with design changes and presentation images that had to be prepared beforehand. During the meeting there are on-the-fly changes and can we actually model correctly while other people look on. In between meetings, there’s some schematic design work that can be done, and why won’t that stair work quite the way you want it to in the space?
(Left) Making changes on the fly is stressful but fun! (Center) Presentation images for various projects. (Right) Schematic design work.
One day there’s field measuring an existing building, and that’s every nook, cranny, window, door, wall, ceiling, everything, and is that a snake skin in the corner? Then there’s taking a project through bidding, and putting out addenda to answer questions. Reviewing office standards, best practices for using Revit, and how to correctly model projects. Round out the day by choosing which carpet, wall base, cabinetry, lights go best in a space.
(Left) How do we measure that corner completely blocked by trees? Oh yes, send the intern to crawl in! (Center) Yes, this basement had about a two-foot snake skin, we didn’t see the actual snake but Janelle and I didn’t hang around long either. (Right) The faces of “Can we make Revit do that?”
One day there’s on-site construction progress meetings with field reports, and issues that arose since the last meeting. Next up there’s working on redlines, both marking up drawings and correcting drawings other have redlined. Finally, there is some time at the end of the day to work out if this other project has to have fire suppression, how many bathrooms do we need, and what type of construction (wood, steel, heavy timber?) are we talking about here?
(Far Left) I got many odd looks for taking a photo in the construction meeting but here the team is working to finalize a detail. (Center Left) Building under construction! (Center Right) Some beautiful red lines from Janelle. (Far Right) The books that hold all the answers you never knew you never wanted.
One day there’s a scramble to prepare images for a client that unexpectedly wants to stop by the office. There’s learning about specifications (don’t I just have to read Scott’s blog on that?). Preparing construction document’s to be submitted to the permit office, followed by actually dropping them off to the permitting office. Then there’s reviewing project submittals, shop drawings, and requests for information from contractors in the field.
(Left) Project submittal lists, some pending another meeting. (Center) Specification sections. (Right) Shop drawings to be reviewed.
Friday, I’m in Love
One day there’s working on converting a schematic design to construction documents (floor plans, sections, reflected ceiling plans, door schedules, window types, and so many details). There’s a lunch-and-learn during mid-day, and do we know the correct viewing angle for a screen in a conference room versus an auditorium? Then there’s meetings with engineers, reviewing consultant drawings, and coordinating information across disciplines.
But then there are some days with bubble wrap, “reminding” Kim to order more paper by taping the box to her door, updating the music playlist, trying to learn how to finally solve a Rubik’s cube, or picking out our movie list for a late late night at the office. I’m also very sure that I am forgetting to mention many things that go on in the office. Each day is a unique set of challenges, but also immense fun because I love architecture and all that it entails.
(Left) Scott enlisting help to tape the paper box to Kim’s door. (Center) Nothing is wasted in this office, especially not bubble wrap! (Right) We have fun with our playlists, trying to update the theme every month. this month is TV and movie music, and its pretty awesome.