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    Sunday, September 12, 2010

    The Unholy Trinity, Architecturally..

    What you design will be massacred all the way from the drawing board, to the shop drawings, to the contractor who wanted to be an architect and couldn't make it, and then saw your work as a chance for him to prove himself (only to realize, he should've just stuck with pouring concrete and yelling at the over-work labor force)..
    Ok, maybe "Massacred" is a harsh word to use for the norm, so i'll just save it for my sad scenario(s) <<< Plural
    Honestly, I knew this existed before, but it was painful to work on a design that turned from a contemporary architectural statement, to something similar to matchboxes and crap facade design we see around.. Therefore, that frustration is the sole sponsor of today's rant..

    Some firms have that scenario on a daily basis, and some thrive to fight the way it's being carried out to actually make something nice out of the initial concept sheets.. It's like seeing your baby grow up to what you expect it to be, mostly with a logical space for "accepting the changes".. Because, let's be real about it, few times does a concept sheet manifest itself in its entirety.. The sooner you learn this fact, the sooner you'll be able to adjust, adapt and then slowly get more of "you" into the construction field..
    The extent that these designs are manipulated and carried out differently than what you intended, dear designer, might make some of you think of a career switch.. Stay strong!
    What many expect, logically, is that the changes in any design are because of 3 main factors:
    1. Mathematics of the design (structure calculations, construction cost..etc)
    2. Client reactions (From Schematic to Development to Construction) and this happens as a result of the coordination between the designer and the contractor..
    3. Your Team (either you leading a design team, or being led)
    Am not complaining about those, by the way.. I already know the rough ride of this profession harshly enough to live through the horrors of "No, i don't like this".. It's easy to adapt to, because there's logic.. (am using the word "easy" loosely)
    However, the illogical part of the equation is probably the main reason why we end up with the same ugly buildings over and over again:
    • The RETARDED structure engineer, who seems to adore adding a column every single square meter of your design, limiting the mere thought of even adding a cantilevering part anywhere.. As if Godzilla is the expected live-load, over-structuring the whole building with a tower structure system, when you're just adding a simple Mezzanine to your restaurant.. And it doesn't end there, when it seems against his "profound" collective knowledge of the universe.. We're talking about an engineer who doesn't feel like using his brain in designing a structure system that enables your design to become reality.. Why take the risk when you can play it safe? All the friggin' time!
    • The Contractor with a serious Superiority-complex (or stupidity, whatever suites best), who forces his own taste in design, despite the intention of the design from the lead designer or the approval of the client, under the "I know this from experience" category.. He is fairly convinced that on the field, HE is the new architect, solving problems as he sees fit, without needing to approve his massacre of a solution from the people in charge.. Not to mention how he feels obligated to suggest a different design alternative to something that reduces the possibility of him sweating physically (or mentally) trying to opt for the easiest, quickest, and most affordable way out.. (affordable = not reducing the amount he's sneaking into his pockets)
    • The guy who you'll always wonder how he managed to graduate from Architectural school.. The kind that keeps on yapping about he admires architectural principle, when his design decisions are a capital offense.. The kind of guy that actually tries to convince you that Falling Water was designed by Le Corbusier.. The kind of guy that ends up being your boss, because he logged-in more years in the field than you.. The guy incharge of your design team from HELL!!
    The architectural eyes that favors one design over another has been replaced by the commercial eye that can ONLY see price tags and the possibility of "Copy and Pasting" another design and getting away with it.. Sell the photoshopped building to the client as a first step, then blindfold the progress to reach the crap we see..
    So, i guess what am trying to say is:
    If you're not welling to change any of this mess, build a strong enough career to be the "change", and help the architects with an ulcer-risk, then seriously don't cross paths with me.. I'll make sure your living days are hell, and your sleepy nights are nothing more but a drug-sedated insomnia trip.. THAT i can promise you..
    Oh, and again, it's a rough market out there (assuming you didn't get the picture by now, and assuming you actually read this far without contemplating murder)
    On a loosely-related note, Does anyone know where i can find some good Indian Ink in Jeddah? I don't want to go online for some ink, so help an architect brotha' out..

    1 comment:

    1. And I thought this happens only in my country...:D