Blog Archives

The Great Rush to Build

When starting a project, everyone is in a great rush to build.  “Why does it take so long to plan?” they ask.  “We already know what we want.  We don’t need to spend any more time planning.  Let’s get started

Posted in Design, Gosh Darnit, Oops, Project Administration

Form suddenly meets function

One Monday morning many years ago, the boss came into the office and announced that we were going to enter a design competition for the West Hollywood Civic Center, which would be located on a block across the street from

Posted in Design, Oops, Project Management

Zero Slump Concrete

After a few of us had taken the architect license exam, we were talking about the questions. One of the multiple choice questions asked how long to wait before removing the cone during a concrete slump test. My colleague had

Posted in Concrete, Construction Administration, Oops

We usually locate the roof drains near the low point

We were working on the layout of the roof plan for a large, irregularly shaped building, designed with the structure gently warped to shed water to the edges. A drafter was adding roof drains to the plan, and I noticed

Posted in Design, Oops, Roofing

Missing consultant coordination, a hilltop building gets a surprise lift station

If you put a new building on a hilltop, the need for a sewage lift station may be the last thing you would expect. However, if you discover that the plumbing waste pipe leaving the building is below the end

Posted in Oops, Site Work

How Hard Does It Rain in the Northwest?

A shopping mall developer and the mall’s architect have to stand up to the scrutiny of department stores who will be part of the development. I recall attending a meeting where the architect’s head designer presented the design of the

Posted in Oops

The Long View

One of the first projects I worked on was a 2-bedroom addition to a neighbor’s house in the mid 1960’s. It was pretty simple: a short hallway, two bedrooms, and two closets. The layout was efficient. The neighbor and his

Posted in Design, Gosh Darnit, Oops

Random Lengths to 16 Feet

There are a few buildings from the early 1970’s in upstate New York where you may still be able to see running trim in uniform 8 ft. lengths. This was a brief aberration from the standard for running trim, which

Posted in Oops

Just a Fraction of an Inch

In 1970, when I was working for a millwork subcontracting company in a small town in northern New Hampshire, I was given the task of coordinating the machining of approximately 1,000 wood doors with metal frames (“bucks”) for a hospital

Posted in Oops


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