Aside

One Year Down the Series of Tubes

I launched this site one year ago today. To be sure, I felt like my small but growing business needed a web presence, but it was mostly an excuse to restart my blogging that began at Shoegnome and continued at ALL CAPS’ tumblr. I averaged a little over one post per week during this first year, and I’m ready to evolve this website to what it needs to be going forward.

The blog will be getting reorganized with new categories and tags to make it easier to find stuff. I’ll also be shifting the focus of my writing as I have a growing backlog of articles that are more specific to ALL CAPS’ line of work, which is helping chain concepts (with an emphasis on restaurant chains) doing rollout development. So expect to see more blog posts on that kind of subject matter, and of course a smattering of the other random stuff I’ve written about over the past year — I am, after all, a generalist in a generalist’s profession.

While I’ve previously posted about your favorite articles, which you should absolutely check out if you haven’t already, today I’ll put out a list of my favorite articles from this first year back at the blog. So, here we go in no particular order, and it’s a short list since I’m my own worst critic:

👽 2 Future 4 U: A Perspective on Technology, Production, and Business Models in Architecture

I arrived at a similar conclusion that many others have regarding how architecture’s business model should evolve in the future, but I got there from a different perspective, and I like that perspective a lot.

🪨 Guest Post: Unfrozen Cavemen Architect Takes Issue with Our “Modern” Drawing Techniques

Architects who take issue with digital drawing and production techniques (we’re “losing beauty”, it’s “unnatural”, whatever — pick your trope) are stupid, and that’s an indisputable fact. If you’re one of these people, Unfrozen Caveman Architect has a few choice words for you about how dumb your hand-drawing techniques are to his generation.

🎪 “We Need to Talk About Your Flair” — The Story of Chain Restaurant Design: Exteriors Edition

This was a great repurposing of some old notes from a design exercise I did a few years ago. I love this article and I hope to do an interiors edition sooner rather than later.

Toothless Prison Design Policies

The AIA recently revised its Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct to prohibit its members from designing several specific pieces of prison infrastructure. The move was warmly greeted in the press and on social media. But it was a meaningless move on AIA’s part. The only acceptable ethics for AIA members are ethics that forbid any work on jails and prisons.

While I won’t speculate on who kept these changes so watered down, it’s important to remember that we architects are a timid bunch — it doesn’t take much for us to get spooked and back off. Remember, there’s a lot of money in the design and construction of prisons, and AIA’s ArchiPAC has been a strong supporter of politicians who also benefit from the support of the for-profit private prison industry.

Anyone who thinks that “prohibiting members from knowingly designing spaces intended for execution and torture, including indefinite or prolonged solitary confinement of prisoners for 22 hours or more per day without meaningful human contact, for more than 15 consecutive days” is sufficient when you have a prison machine capable of the macabre creativity displayed in this recent article from ProPublica is pulling the wool over their own eyes. Also, I had to laugh at all the adjectives and conditions written into the definition of solitary confinement — it was clearly influenced by lobbyists. This new verbiage is designed to leave a nice, big loophole for the prison industry while giving its architects a pass. I can already see RFPs and programs from the for-profit prison industry describing rooms sized for gurneys and IV stands, but omitting what specifically the room will be used for — so that’s a-okay ethically! Wink-wink, nudge-nudge! Come on…

There are millions of people locked up in this country. We have no shortage of jail or prison capacity. What we do have a shortage of is built infrastructure that supports world-class education, technical training, quality affordable housing, and places for kids to go after school — all of which are proven to reduce crime and/or recidivism. Until the AIA puts some teeth into its policies on prisons and jails, it’s tacitly endorsing this country’s fucked-up, racist, and corrupt justice system. Let’s do better.

Aside

Introducing the ALL CAPS “Will I Get Paid?” Index

I’m on a roll with the economic indicators here, so…

I thought about this out loud on Twitter a while back and now I’m ready to introduce this novel(ty) index that tells us how likely active clients are to start defaulting on our invoices, an important tool to have in “these challenging times” for sure.

Here’s how it works: I’ll take the AIA’s current ABI and CCF numbers, have shot of Stolli, and then I’ll put on an album from Yello and dance for a few minutes. From there, information pops out that tells us something about the likelihood of getting stiffed on an invoice. Pretty magical, huh!?

And Now, The Inaugural “Will I Get Paid?” Index

Index Readings

The Index uses a five-point scale:

  • 5 – 🤑 Hell, invoice the next 12 months — it’s ALL GREAT!
  • 4 – 😁 The accounting staff have never had it so easy!
  • 3 – 🙂 Normal times, no worries.
  • 2 – 😦 Better wrap up invoicing quick, it’s not looking good out there…
  • 1 – 🤕 Oh, shit — emails to client bounce and their phone is disconnected!

Aside

Refocusing

The month of June at ALL CAPS has been a month focused on how the architecture profession can become more accessible, authentic and equitable. As I move forward with the blog, my plan is to try and bring this month’s focus into my future writings, regardless of the topic. I’m still reflecting on how it all translates for my own one-person practice, so I’ll provide updates on that as my thoughts evolve.

In the coming weeks and months we’ll be diving back into AEC technology and of course: design for the world of restaurants, who aren’t going to let a pandemic take them out — slow them down, maybe.

More to come! ✌🏻

What?

Here, an architect will write about architecture and the AEC industry. Mostly. Hopefully in a way that both architects and normal people will enjoy.

There will be serious, chin-stroking writing and there will be not serious, ridiculous writing — there will be in-between writing too. Architecture is a generalist’s profession and so I’ll be general, unless I’m being specific. A lot of the specificity will be about restaurant architecture because it’s interesting to me and represents a lot of my work. Some of the things I write will be very basic high-level views, others will be technical and more complicated.

This thing is new, and is therefore subject to change. Iterations, after all, are very architect-y.

Clear? Good. Let’s proceed.