A Day in the Life of an Architect | Architecture

Hey, Eric here with here with 30 by 40 Design Workshop starting off the vlog in the Longhouse this is my house I designed about 10 years ago 2007 we moved in it’s for my family my wife myself a cat and my two boys and our bedroom is at this end of the house and 80 feet that way are their bedrooms we both have kind of private views out to the woods if you want to learn more about how I designed this I’ll link it up in the cards here but

 

I’m not going to talk about this in too much detail today I’m going to do a tour in the future talking about some of the things I’d do differently again it’s an interesting experience of building your own architecture and then actually living in it for 10 years so you definitely learn a lot it’s been a great experience that way it’s a snow day today my wife is traveling she’s out of state my kids are here they’re actually sleeping down there but I’m gonna get into the studio and do some work so I do want to be able to show you around at some point this is a classic bread loaf plan we have the kitchen dining living here’s my favorite

 

Cardboard Safari moose which my mother hates to the south sits the studio this is the main way we sort of enter the site the front door sits over here a nice fire going in the wood stove it’s gonna be kind of a batten down the hatches day when you work for yourself you don’t really get snow days but that’s okay because I don’t have very long of a commute here it’s pretty short okay I made it so working for yourself entrepreneurship it’s definitely not for everyone you have to be pretty disciplined but there’s nothing better in my opinion than choosing what you get to work on each day okay so I’m hoping to design the elevations for the gallery house project we started off with the floor plans and then from the floor plans I’ve taken those and built a SketchUp model out of that and one of the critical relationships here is the second floor sort of loft space so I want to keep the volume of this main structure as low as I possibly can so these eave relationships and how this bedroom fits into the eave is really important so I’ve defined that I’ve built a Sketchup model I’ve worked on some of the proportions and

what I try and do is work in the computer for a little while and then print it out and then start sketching over it so I’ve blocked out the elevations in CAD and these look really rough and like pretty terrible and so I use these as the base template to begin sketching so when you’re designing elevations you want to be thinking about a couple of things materials you know this is a chance to really integrate a material palette so I’ve just gone ahead in my material cart here and selected some materials I’m hoping to go with a really dark palette for the exterior and then bring in some natural woods for the interior so I pulled out some concretes black window frames maybe some dark green for the exterior shou sugi ban siding siding maybe some zinc I don’t know some IPE some darker woods so I just like to have these materials nearby while I’m designing because it’s a simple volume I want to start playing with some textures I’ve also grabbed some images of the spaces so here’s a play on textures that

I’m thinking about so some open rain screen siding versus some tongue and groove planks this in terms of openings I really like this image it’s got a sort of rustic and clean contemporary feel to it so there’s some textural differences on the insides and then also this image so the neighborhood this sits in is you know it has some context there’s some traditional context that we’re trying to fit in and around and so this idea of a sort of Shaker two-over-two window may find its way into this scheme and the clients talked about that also the darker color palette here is nice it feels more clean and modern so one of the other places that I’m inspiration from is Pinterest and

I have a board set up for this project so you know inspiration images things that I can think start thinking about as I’m designing these elevations it’s nice to have a collection of these things and with Pinterest you can share it with the client and then solicit their feedback as well they can pin to this board having all of these things in and around you as you’re designing is a way of sort of seeding the field gives you some ideas and context to pull from and you know elevates the design hopefully when you’re designing elevations like it’s all about big moves and if you’re gonna give yourself constraints I like to give like choose like two size openings like something really large and then something small so a little punched window or something like this little guy maybe it’s this little guy up here or there’s one here and then you got the big opening big tiny let’s think about like this zone in here as being all one thing and like I’m thinking about this being all smooth for this exercise here so this zone is glass it’s fenestration, fenestration is just windows basically, windows and doors, you know designing elevations is about positioning openings in a wall it’s also you, also need to think about you know the traditional rules of composition this zone I’m thinking of being all smooth and even as it wraps and then we get to this this piece here and then maybe this this is not smooth so on this end elevation we’ve got big smooth so here’s where the smooth part sort of hooks in it’s almost like this L-shape and then we have a big like this is where our firewood is gonna go on this end I think and then this is like a sliding barn door that comes across and that’s that starts to feel pretty nice I want this chimney to be larger than life so I’ve got these these basic elevations and they look really scrappy and pretty terrible but the idea is to work on top of them with layers and layers of trace and start thinking about you know what materials can go where what’s smooth what has a texture what stands off the wall what’s gonna create shadow so it’s about composing openings it’s about layering on materials it’s about thinking about textural differences rough and smooth maybe there’s some subdivisions of this glass and even in these areas which maybe this isn’t all glass but maybe it is like this where it’s really a smooth texture versus up above which might have some more planking something like that so there’s a shadow and a texture to the upper surface and then down low in this zone it’s all smooth we need a door out here so maybe this is the door and there’s smooth planking there smooth planking there and then this is the kitchen here so kitchen we have counter counter space up high window window window window, I’ll work through a number of these sketch assemblies and think about you know a number of different possibilities maybe there are small punches on this maybe these openings go very large we go to a vertical siding you know maybe we look at some more vertical openings on this face and what happens is you’ll make these discoveries so for example on the floor plan I didn’t have the firewood here we had talked about having the firewood over in this zone but once I started drawing this elevation I thought it would be nice on the South flank to have these like big big spans of glass this would be great actually you could even have like a little sort of cubby where you could just do a pass-through for the firewood onto that side and then I started looking in elevation and thought wow this could like there’s a real opportunity here so oftentimes you’ll take in the floor plan an idea and once it comes into elevation there are changes and tweaks that need to be made using sketching to solve problems is really important you can’t just live in the computer sketching is just the act of thinking things through visually so it’s a really important part of my process because this is an existing structure it has its own proportional language that’s hard to get in tune with so that’s kind of where I’m struggling right now I get really impatient with the process like I want I want this to look good immediately it’s really hard looking at it knowing it’s it’s not there yet, I don’t love that. If I’m stuck on a problem usually that means I need to get out of the studio and get away from the work that’s the best way to solve a creative block disconnect do something completely different this is kind of where I come to do that. So, exercise is one of my non-negotiables I consider it to be part of my creative process and so it’s something I’m doing every day I make it a point to get out of the studio and get exercise. I hear from a lot of people that get their best ideas in the shower this is where I get my best ideas out here so I do this every single day even when the weather is kind of crap like it is today but it’s really important and I think it’s important for every creative to get out and do this. Alright my hands are getting pretty cold it’s pretty windy out here today, and it’s March, where’s spring? Yeah, the only thing to be thinking about is on the if you’re looking at my floor framing plan on the right side of it the we have that floor drain it’s all super tight so I’ve drawn the exact relationship that I measured out there so where the wall framing sits it’s a two by four wall centered on that joist okay yeah perfect thanks okay thanks bye. I think most people think about drawings as being the only currency of an architect but actually you know the specifications and all the schedules that we do – so this is just for the squid Cove project – you know this is a small set of specifications about 13 pages and then there’s a bunch of different schedules each one of these lines in here is a set of decisions that needs to be made by someone and this is kind of like an instruction manual that we hand to the contractor and it’s just a listing of all the detailed decisions that the owner and I have made together so that there are no questions so we don’t leave things to chance it takes a lot of people to turn our ideas into into buildings you know contractors subcontractors engineers obviously our clients it’s kind of a big team sport you know so managing in the afternoon is really about coordinating those parts and pieces those other players in the making of architecture so it’ll be site visits it’ll be phone calls it’ll be doing some coordination or drawings or specifications today I’m working on a project scope document so this is just an early phase kind of small set of specifications it just kind of describes to the contractor the basic systems and the finishes and sort of the level of quality that we’re putting into this home so we can just get going on some pricing. You know I find that management tasks things like emails phone calls texts you know all these requests from other people for your time they often present themselves as being really urgent but 90% of the time they just aren’t if you’re always answering a text from someone within in minutes you just end up teaching that person that it’s an okay thing to do and for me I just find this really disruptive to my creative process so I really try to time box things you know like project related text things like that I try to compress them into a small window in the afternoon and I just kind of walk through them as quickly as I’m able to you know one of the things I really do make a conscious effort to make happen and I’m not able to do it every day but I try to make time that’s you know usually between 4:00 and 5:00 in the afternoon for something that’s just completely disengaged from architecture whether that’s editing photos or reading a book or playing the guitar and I really kind of crave this disengagement like it just feeds the intellect in a completely different way you know it’s just another dimension to the creative process that’s all. Hey, I hope you guys enjoyed this I had a lot of fun making it this is part of what I do it’s not all of what I do hopefully in the future I’ll be able to share little bits and pieces to give you a better flavor for the spectrum of things that I do I know this life isn’t for everybody sole practice is challenging in many ways and not the least of which is that it’s isolating and it’s it is a little bit lonely architecture is a giant team effort it can’t happen just with the architect the architect in a lot of ways is the conductor but we certainly need all of the other pieces to feed into that and and that makes the practice of architecture enriching because it takes so many people to actually realize it in the world. Smash that like button below if this is helped you in any way I do appreciate all your support say hi in the comments I love hearing from you guys. Alright, we’ll see you again next time, cheers my friends!

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