What does it look like?

Here is a simple summary of what a client will get during the development of a project in terms of deliverables

  • 2D - These are the drawings that would normally be printed. PDF is the standard format. If you have a Mac, Adobe Reader works a bit better than Preview. As a client, you will get pdf versions of all the drawings. These will also be forwarded to the contractors for their use in bidding and construction.
  • 3D - There are several options for viewing the model. This is a rapidly changing area of software development so the exact tools will evolve. Currently:
    • Native Revit - All project development, both 2D and 3D is completely created in Revit. There is no separate viewer. However on screen viewing is provided either in the office or at your home.
    • 3D PDF - The model is embedded in a pdf file and you are able to rotate and walk-thru the project. As noted above, Mac users will need Adobe Reader and in any case, the most current version of Reader. Materials are simplified for smaller file size. The navigation controls are simple but it is easy to get lost in the model. Hit "home" and you returned to the starting view.
    • Sketchup - The Revit model can be exported to Sketchup, a free 3D software tool. Some clients find this tool easier to navigate. 
    • Proprietary - We utilize several programs for rendering. These tools have 3D viewing apps available for desktop, iOS, and Android.
    • Live model - In addition to viewing the project in Revit, we use a high end architectural visualization package that is specific for creating a complete environment with conceptual landscaping. Based on gaming software it requires special hardware to run. Using this software, we can easily walk around outside and inside the house. Please note that this is within the standard scope of services if desired, not a premium service.
    • Photorealistic rendering - Within reason, this can be provided within the normal workflow. However, highly developed renderings require highly developed models, an effort that is only useful for this kind of visualization. The Revit model is exported to one or several rendering development environments. The end result can be quite stunning.
    • 3D summary - In working in 3D, there is a cost-benefit issue where more detail requires more time. How useful is the 3D information to the intended user? To a great extent, much of the required detail is automatic and/or in the normal workflow. We try to find that appropriate balance on all projects to fit the client and project needs.
    • VR - oh so close. Google cardboard is now working and we can export to that format.

Julia Morgan is given the AIA 2014 Gold Medal

When I was first approached about remodeling a house designed by Julia Morgan, my first thoughts were:

  • Dare I?
  • Did this house have historic value?
  • What would Julia Morgan think?

Julia Morgan was recently given the American Institute of Architects 2014 Gold Medal, the highest honor an architect can win. Hearing this news, I've thought back on our project on Kingsley in Palo Alto and the decisions my clients and I made at the beginning of the project about how much to change of the house. 

On the outside, only part of the existing Julia Morgan cottage remained in any significant way, the front porch. During the 1980's, a not very sensitive second story addition was put on but this was an area we were not touching. The front porch needed complete rebuilding and, with the work we were doing internally, we decided to expand the porch, very much keeping the original style. 

The existing interior detailing of house still had much of the original trim work, although the details were relatively simple and typical for the era of the original cottage. We were completely redoing the interior finishes, so we decided to simplify the detailing a bit in a traditional style and stay consistent with doors and hardware. The one major interior element that we did save was the wood fireplace mantel. The new fireplace was a custom gas unit that was sized to match the original firebox, so that the old original mantel could be re-installed and refinished.

So what would have Julia Morgan thought of our work on this old house? Most people know of her work on major projects and for famous clients. But in my research for our project, I discovered that she had a certain joy working on smaller projects for more everyday clients. Then, as now, the projects were about the clients and their goals. There are many ways to define success in the Architectural world and she has achieved the highest honors. I hope we've respectfully maintained her expectations for this house.


What's with the Home page picture?

Edit 12/2015: The Home page picture has changed, but I'm still so totally fascinated by this picture below.

No, this is not my office. In my intern days, however, I did work in an environment similar to this with drafting tables and staff easily talking to each other as we developed projects. We worked in teams in an open studio, like today's tech firm's open environment.

Edit 12/2015: Okay, so maybe that was somewhat of an exaggeration. We didn't mingle that much and certainly didn't smoke pipes or otherwise. And rarely a tie. I did have one principal that wanted us to all wear smocks. Right... But we did all talk and share ideas together in a very serious collaborative open studio.

This photograph is from the Library Congress and was taken in 1944 of the Architects and draftsmen in the Rural Resettlement Office in Washington DC.

Here's the original from the archives.

arch office.jpg

Here are a few more pictures. 


The Rural Resettlement Office was at 2020 Massachusetts in Washington DC. This building is now the Embassy of The Republic of Indonesia