Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Are you willing to get involved?

Do you find yourself procrastinating and once you realize it, you are not quite sure why? I have noticed, in the past few weeks, when I talk to acquaintances and friends there seems to be a desire for improving their lives but a hesitation to move forward with action. Now many of my friends here are in the architecture profession and just coming of age in the beginning of their careers. I understand not wanting to upset an apple cart, but I find myself scratching my head and wondering what we are waiting for?

Notice, I put myself in this category because I recognize that I have procrastinated on some of the items that I am looking to accomplish in my life. And maybe I am the only one, but I don't think so. I have had many discussions with classmates and co-workers who wish the profession of architecture was different. I am assuming that they want better recognition and compensation for the work that they produce. Now that I think of it, I could be wrong because as things are now, the profession is changing. It is changing to a point where architects could be so marginalized they are legislated into a requirement for the building process and only asked to accomplish those tasks required by law.

One example of this was the limited involvement architects had in crafting the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The AIA and their federal advocacy team did an outstanding job of bringing architects' issues to policy makers on capitol hill, but at the end of the day, the relationships lawmakers had with their constituents ultimately decided the final legislation.

Architects have a role in the representatives' future in Washington. I can tell you I personally witnessed the desire for information by the staff members of the congressmen about well designed communities, the importance of light-rail transportation solutions, and sustainable construction assemblies as it pertained to stimulating the economy. These young professionals recognized the value of the education we on which pride ourselves requiring to be a part of the architecture profession.

Effective governance, in principle, is dictated by policy and budget. The people that craft the policy and set the budget are the true governors of the future. These people are the ones with which relationships must be built. As architects and professionals, we cannot wait for our elected officials to come ask us the tough questions. We need to have a relationship with them as their constituents who are capable and ready to support them as leaders in our republic. If we do this, we have the opportunity to design the work environment in which we will practice. Remember back when you were younger, wasn't it easier to win the made up neighborhood game when you were the one creating the rules? Now is the time for us to create the future.

What do you want the future to look like? How can you help the political process? Leave a comment and let me know, what is holding you back?

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

UIA August 2009 e/Newsletter

Vicepresidente Mauricio Rivero Borrell, Union Internacional de Arquitectos, has asked me to distribute this widely to share the work being done by the UIA.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Technology Crunch

How quickly we forget that we have the technology to solve not only the most complex pro-forma calculations or building performance models but also the mundane tasks that previously required for most a few conventions in order to keep our ideas in line....Read the whole article

Friday, August 07, 2009

What to do during the summer before your 3rd year of Architecture School

3rd year of architecture school can be very overwhelming and a lot of fun. If you are in a Bachelor of Architecture program, hang in there you are almost half way done to completing your professional degree. If you are in a pre-professional program, now is a really good time to start thinking about where you would like to complete your Master of Architecture professional degree if it will be different from your undergraduate program. But school is not all you should be thinking about as it comes to your career. Here are a few suggestions to keep in mind as prepare for your next year in school.

Time Management in Architecture School

I know this might sound cliche but really it is a life saver when it comes to your classes. Now that you have gotten through your first two years of school, take a look at your GPA. If you still have over a 3.5, great job! If not, no sweat, hopefully the registrar is allowing you to register for class and therefore you aren't too far down on the GPA scale. So what does this have to do with time management? Well, now that you are an upperclassmen, your social calendar will fill up more than it has in the past. You will want to do what you can to maintain those grades as long as you can.

I found that time management was key to overcoming the analysis paralysis that affects every designer at some level. I suggest starting with each of your known deadlines and charting them out on a printed calendar or a piece of paper. It is important to do write this down, so you commit to the dates, don't fret you can transfer more of the detail to your online calendars at a later time. Writing it down on paper is permanent decision making that allows you to move on to the next decision.

Now you should have a good idea how long it might take to complete tasks after two years of school. On each day leading up to your deadlines, set aside 8 hours to sleep, no matter how well you think you work on little to no sleep, you always perform better rested and refreshed. Then schedule backwards to have a good idea of how much time you need to dedicate to your project. Of course there is probably a good chance you may not have all of the requirements of each project, so take an opportunity to talk with your professor about your upcoming requirements. The more information the better you are prepared. Remember this is why you are planning ahead now so you will be successful throughout the school year.

Once you have your projects on your calendar, jot down some idea of when you should have 60% or more of your project completed. Throughout the year work towards meeting these deadlines. Of course this is just a guide but the better you are at sticking to your predetermined dates, the more successful you will be throughout the year.

Important points:

  • Know your deadlines

  • Set side time to rest and sleep your brain

  • Set benchmarks to assist you with completing the process

Social Networking Sites

What do all those posts and pictures have to do with architecture school, you might be asking. Well now during the summer, it is a good time to take a close look at what your identity is to the world. Unless you are a very reserved individual, you do not need to lock down your profile through your privacy settings so tight that no one can find you, but you may find managing your identity would be easier if privacy settings are the steps you need to take. Social networking sites can be very useful in presenting yourself to others, however your professionalism should be evident in your profile. Here is a good article on Twitter and Facebook etiquette for job hunters, remember you may want to find a job one day.

It is important to remember that people are viewing your profile, along with the thousands of computers with programs that crawl data, and make judgements about that information based on their personal experiences. Here is where social networking becomes very valuable. You have the ability to demonstrate your writing ability, your social skills (not by the number of followers per se, but through interaction with non-local individuals), and your personal preferences – photos, videos, fan pages and other applications. Keep in mind, many people will have viewed your public page before they sit down with you. That being said, don't fret about what your identity says, it should be you. There may be a future partner, boss or client that loves 311 just as much as you do and would love to talk about your passion for music and creativity it brings to your design. But on the same token, your frequent trips to the beach to party hard may cause a potential relationship to avoid further contact in order to prevent an inappropriate episode from reflecting badly on them in the future.


If you haven't learned by now, documenting your work is very important. Hopefully you have been mentored by your professors or older students that have impressed upon you the value of recording the work that you do in studio and other classes. If you have not been fortunate enough to have that experience, start documenting now. Digitally document your work and find some way to annotate what each image is in your recording process. At a minimum write down the date that you created the diagram or image and where you created it to help jog your memory in the future.

These are just a few of the suggestions that I found helpful in my collegiate experience. Please comment below if you have a suggestion that you believe could help someone going into their 3rd year of architecture school.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Could you be a millionaire by 30?

For all of those recent graduates who may feel a little down about their outlook on life, I wanted to share a story of a friend of mine from high school. Alan and I got reconnected on Facebook some time ago and it is fun to see what each other are up to after years have passed by. Alan was always a great guy to have in class with you - he made the hour go by quickly with his quick wit, and huge smile. He has written a book "A Million Bucks by 30" that I haven't read yet, but have no doubt it gives some very creative ways of looking at life.

If you have a minute, I encourage you to watch this short clip:

Sometimes it doesn't take much to change our outcome. Could this be you?

For more on Corey and to see a playlist he has compiled check out this link: Alan's Playlist

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

How Not to Sell

via by Nancy Colasurdo on 4/8/09
For your own sake, if your work involves selling a product or service, maximize your chance for success by listening better.

Monday, March 23, 2009

My bucket list starts with: Become a Private Pilot

Become a Private Pilot
Ever since my first flight at eleven years old, I have known I want to be at the controls of an aircraft. To have the credentials to fly and go where I want, when I want, would be the ultimate freedom.

Visit the Parthenon
The Parthenon at the Acropolis is an incredible structure. To be on what others considered hallowed ground and experience the awe inspiring vistas is a must see for me.

Scuba Dive
The underwater world is an amazing environment to visit. To have the ability to travel on 3 axis and experience the vibrancy of life contained in coral reefs would be humbling.

Learn to sail
To harness the incredible kinetic energy rushing across the water and believe I have some sort of control over that power would be an invigorating experience.

Mentor others willing to share in my bucket list
Without sharing the passion with others, there is no reason to participate in the experiences. It is through the combined mentor student relationship that the line between the two becomes blurred and the mentor becomes the student and the student shares the passion.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

AIAS Collaborates with AIA in Rebuild and Renew Advocacy Efforts

The AIA has taken the initiative to establish Architects as a resource for legislators to utilize during the process of crafting the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Through the Rebuild and Renew campaign and in partnership with the alliances the AIA built, we have a piece of legislation that has the promise of getting the U.S. economy moving by putting in place infrastructure for more healthy, vibrant, and sustainable communities. AIAS have been asked to assist AIA members in their advocacy efforts. As emerging professionals we represent communities from all over the country in our different programs and we are aware of the challenges our communities, from small towns to large cities, face on a first hand basis. It is this knowldege students and emerging professionals can contribute to the debate.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Students Take the Lead

Hundreds of design students from architecture schools across the southeast will meet in Atlanta next week for South Quad 2009: SEE. SPEAK. DESIGN. The event, the annual spring regional meeting of the American Institute of Architecture Students, is co-hosted by the local AIAS chapters at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Southern Polytechnic State University.

AIAS News Alert (South Quad Conference)