This is the second in a series of posts called #Architalks, organized by Bob Borson at Life of an Architect . #Architalks is a group of architects writing blog posts around a single theme or subject and posting them all at the same time. Last month we took on some common questions about our profession.  This time we write on the theme THIS IS EXCITING.  I hope you enjoy this as well as the other #architalks posts. Be sure to check out all the links below.
Thew Deck

Deck for Friends – Photo by Sarah Thew – Carolina Blue Design Group

Projects are just fun.  As a whole, they have a clear beginning, middle and end.  This is true no matter how messy one gets along they way.  It is not just full-blown architectural projects that are like this. Even (deceptively) simple weekend warrior DIY work around the house can be clearly dissected and laid out for closer inspection. Consider this; the IDEA is the beginning. The PREPARATION, maybe some procrastination, WORK, EVALUATION, RE-WORK and REFINEMENT are all degrees of the middle.  There can be more procrastination in there too; disguised as research, extra trips to the hardware store, or excess evaluation or re-evaluation while enjoying adult beverages.  The end, of course is when work is COMPLETE and there is a use, appreciation or function that happens because of all the work that went into the project at hand.  Time to store the tools and stand back to admire what you have done before the project slowly fades into part of the comfortable routine.

design sketches, architect, asheville architect, hendersonville architect, custom design, sustainable design

Home Design Sketches

There is an exciting moment for any project when the idea and all the work gets to a point where it all comes together.  That moment is usually elusive and plagued fits, starts, roadblocks, malfunctions, contingencies, delays, distractions, priority re-alignments and any host of other factors allowed through the universal constant of Murphy’s Law.  This is what makes the moment so exciting.  It is a momentum point of no return.  It is when the end is within reach.  It is when the work becomes like a song; a song so rehearsed and so heartfelt that it seems to spring from your voice or flow from your instruments as if you were not even there – an autonomous and natural force. The project takes a life of its own.  The idea gives birth to the work and the two become one in the completion.

Photo by Patrick Sullivan - Hendersonville Times News

Fletcher Town Hall – Photo by Patrick Sullivan – Hendersonville Times News

There is a magic in that exciting moment that happens on architectural design projects that I have found unmatched and paramount to the similar excitement in other work.  Working various types of puzzles and getting to that all-coming-together moment seems to be the closest in comparison.  But WOW! How sweet it is to pour over a design, adjust, imagine, envision, extrude, refine and finally get to that place where the flow is right. The spacial adjacencies are in harmony. The massing is proportionally sound. The volumes begin to effortlessly interlock with a structural system. The client’s guardian angels begin to sing over my work station. Sunlight shines onto the drawings…OK WAIT…taking the “magic” part a bit too far here…But REALLY, it get’s that exciting.



Working Past Roadblocks

Three years into our business plan for Modus Operandi Design,or MOD, it feels like that exciting moment is near for this startup project.  Through the success and sustained practice, there have also been frustrating moments.  That is no surprise.  Perhaps the most frustrating element is the whole reason the American Institute of Architects (AIA) initiated repositioning – a deficit in awareness of the value that architects provide for their clients and people living, working and playing in buildings.  The magic moment for the MOD startup project, and I imagine any startup firm, is when the sum of all the exciting moments on all the projects to date reach critical mass.  There will be one project to tip the balance. One who’s excited owners have shared that breakthrough moment with the team.  One that marks the momentous point of no return.  Although, it cannot just happen with the project alone or the owner by their self. MANY years of experience, testing, building and learning leads to a professional practice that makes that moment, that project, that client relationship possible.  Reaching that level in such a great profession – THIS is exciting!


Thank you for visiting. See ya again soon. Until then, live nicely!
 James Edgar Stafford, AIA, NCARB

Read these #Architalks writers to learn what is exciting to them…good stuff guaranteed! If there are links that are broken or add up to a 404 error, please check back tomorrow, as we are all new to this and are doing our best to “heard these digital cats.”

Bob Borson – Life of An Architect @bobborson – This Is Exciting – The Beginning of the End

Marica McKeel – Studio MM @ArchitectMM – From Dreams to Reality – THIS is Exciting

Enoch Sears – Business of Architecture @businessofarch –  This Is Exciting: Marketing For Architects That Works

Matthew Stanfield – FiELD9: architecture @FIELD9arch – This, Is Exciting…

Jeff Echols – Architect Of The Internet @Jeff_Echols – This is Exciting: 5 ‘RE’s’ to Change the Future of Architecture

Lee Calisti, AIA – Think Architect @LeeCalisti – This Is Exciting :: Start + Finish

Oscia Wilson – Boiled Architecture @Oscia_Wilson – This Is Exciting: They’re Fighting It Out

Mark R. LePage – Entrepreneur Architect @EntreArchitect – EA042: This Is Exciting – Making A Difference At Entrepreneur Architect

Evan Troxel – TRXL @etroxel – This Is Exciting… Because It’s Real

Nicolas Renard – Cote Renard Architecture @CoteRenard – This Right Here, This is Exciting 

Cormac Phalen – Archispeak Podcast @archispk @archy_type – This is Exciting: The end is like the beginning