The A to Z of Architecture

This is the ALL CAPS edition of the A to Z. Enjoy!

A = Autodesk

The evil empire. The good news is that there are plenty of resistance cells you can join if you have a virtuous heart.


The Information in Building Information Modeling will set you free.


This is an unnecessary and outdated technology thanks to B.

D = Disto

Hey, if you don’t have the budget to laser scan, then you have to laser distancemeter. You need M too.

E = Excel

Excel, and spreadsheets in general (I’m big on Smartsheet now), have massive potential for helping architects parse out the Information in their BIMs.

F = F**k!

The most uttered word in the studio during crunch time.

G = GC

The good ones are truly invaluable members of the project team. 🙌🏻

H = HSWs

The grind for these never ends, does it?

I = Internet

Because of the internet, we don’t need S anymore.

J = Jargon

Jargon, archispeak, call it whatever. Don’t be that architect.

K = Koh-I-Noor mechanical pencils

My go-to writing device these days is an Apple Pencil, but come on, Koh-I-Noors were the best back in the day.

L = Lineweights

Embracing BIM will cause you to view these differently than you ever have before.

M = Mite-R-Gage

Used in conjunction with D when your project is too poor for laser scanning.


They’re fun to laugh at until they show up to a planning/zoning hearing for your project.

O = Omissions

Why do so many of us avoid putting workflows in place to stop these?

P = Pocket Ref

Technically, made obsolete by I, but I still love using this little book as a design resource.

Q = qc

As in heat loss calculations. Both qc = U(A)∆T and qc = U(A)24DD are seriously underrated tools for architects to inform early stage envelope design decisions.


If G is bad, you spend the entire CA budget shuffling these damn things across your desk and responding like, “actually this isn’t an RFI as defined under General Conditions” and saying F as you hit the send button.

S = Sweets Catalogs

You don’t need this 300-pound collection of hardcover books anymore because of I.

T = Technology

If you leverage it wisely and with great discipline it will reward you with another T, time.

U = Undo

The most important BIM command when trying out design options.

V = Value Engineering

The kind of “engineering” that makes architects hate engineering. Precision Development Scheduling can help avoid this kind of thing.

W = Water

No matter what form it’s in water will destroy your building, so you better detail things properly!


Whether it’s CAD or BIM, make sure you bind these damn things before sharing them with someone else — and only send the ones they really need.

Y = Yesterday

This is when the clients need those drawings.

Z = Z-Axis

Designing in this axis from the beginning of your project changes everything for the way the client understands your design and helps avoid so many headaches later on in the project.

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