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  • Writer's pictureTimothy Hill

Fresh Perspective

Updated: Jul 13, 2021

In design as in life, it often pays to look at things from different angles. When my kids lose their drink cups (which is almost every time they finish a drink), I’ve found it valuable to see the room from different angles. I used to walk into the main areas & glance around as frustration built up with each failed attempt. The risk if the cup is not found is not only that I can’t give my child another drink, but that we will have a house full of mold not to mention no way to give our kids a drink. It wasn’t until I started forcing myself to calm down & think through the situation logically that the cups started popping up more quickly.

After taking a deep breath, I reasoned that I was not going to see anything new until I changed my point of view. So I started walking around & thru each room. Instead of just swiveling my head, I would move my body all the way to the opposite wall & turn around & then scan around & behind things, this time from a new viewpoint. In this way, I saw much more of each room from all different angles & also conserved energy by not bending over to see under couches & the like with frustration building. I can’t tell you how much this trick helped me incrementally each time we had to leave the house & needed to find that blanket or drink cup at the last minute (which we ALWAYS do).

It occurred to me this is similar to what architectural drawing process is like. Each item is thought about in multiple different ways. We strategically plan each piece of the project so that it will fit within the whole development in a balanced, synergistic & cost-effective way. The risk if this is not thought out ahead of time is the project will be less than desirable with wasted space & lots of extra material & labor. As lumber & materials continue to rise, so will labor as well as the need to control those costs (ie. good drawings).

In a world filled with complexity, it’s not enough to just look at things from one angle. It’s important to look to make sure the floor plan works absolutely, but we mustn’t neglect the elevation views to make sure the finished product is going to be something interesting & attractive & something worth the investment in the construction process. ‘Knowing enough’ in architectural terms means having floor plans, roof plans, foundation plans, section views & even details about how it all comes together. As the diagram to this blogpost shows, the time to figure out the best way to do things is earlier in the process when the cost is relatively low rather than later when the wheel is in spin & the direction is much more difficult & costly force to control.

So maybe it’s time to ‘find the lost drink cups.’

With a good set of drawings, one can rest assured each cup will be accounted for. Design in many ways is about ensuring things are well thought-out from the beginning & from each perspective of those who will be involved – how will the builder see it; how will the inspector see it; how will the owner see it; how will those visiting see it. One of my favorite quotes is “the time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.” That being said, even before the repair process begins, the roof must be measured & material estimated so the time to start preparing plans is always AS SOON AS YOU THINK OF IT.

Happy hunting… whether it's for cups or entire buildings, I pray your efforts will bear much fruit!

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