Away from Home

The opportunity to work outside of one’s home state is often eye opening.  No matter what field, expanding your knowledge to other parts of the country or world provides the ability to:

  • Meet new people
  • Witness physical or natural differences like mountains, lakes, oceans or plains
  • Experience climatic changes like snow, dry heat or balmy tropical weather

… and for us as architects and interior designers, we get exposed to new aesthetic and architectural styles.  We find the ability to broaden our comfort zone and design with new materials, new colors and new environments.  Don’t be afraid to venture out into the world.  Whether a plane ride or a road trip, the benefits outweigh any possible concerns.

Renovated home designed by the Schimberg Group in Colorado Springs, CO…ch…changes….

In the world of construction, architecture and design, the word “change” has always been equated with another word, “order.” Change orders have always scared people and been directly related to additional costs. Whether a result of the architect or designer unilaterally making the change or the impression that the contractor was using it as an opportunity to charge the owner more money, it was never a positive word or term.

However, over time, I’ve come to realize that there are actually two other forms of, or use of, the word … “change.” There’s good change and there’s bad change.

Good change, which happens often, occurs when something does not go as expected, like an existing condition or an owner’s late night idea. Ultimately, a change is made in order to make the situation better or the detail work. This type of change, 99% of the time, has positive success and is better than the original idea or design.

The second change is negative. This type of change occurs due to lack of care or a deliberate choice to continue to make design modifications, layout revisions or construction decisions. The owner simply makes changes because they can, without regard for other consultants or team members and has little or no respect for the process of design or construction. Ultimately, these types of changes cost time, effort, and money with less than successful results and negatively impacting the final product.

Embrace change, at least the good kind. Other than that, move on and stop making changes.

The good news about the recession

The good news about the recession was that it weeded out the unnecessary draftsman, the incapable designer, and the architect that ultimately left the business. It, if nothing else, slowed down projects enough that, at least on the surface, kept good architecture alive and well.

However, now, we are starting to see bad design rear its ugly head again. Builders and designers (or non-designers), contractors and architects (or non-architects) are designing projects with little respect for context, the environment or in some cases, just simply color.

Let’s not forget what the last seven years taught us: that being conscientious and reserved in our approach to building and development and even design is not only appropriate for the project proforma, but also for the project’s aesthetic success.

We are falling into the same abyss

We are falling into the same abyss this industry fell into in 2009 and 2010. Laborers are taking on jobs out of fear. Architects aren’t saying “no” and instead are agreeing to any project that comes across their desk. Developers are building too many of what they think is necessary and not what is necessary.

Step back, please … Remember that saying no and focusing on doing a good job rather than increasing productivity and earnings ultimately … increases productivity and earnings. Quality is king and, in the end, doing a good job for the right price on schedule is remembered years from now. Taking the money now and running without quality gets forgotten and ends up looking for another career.

A Reflective Nature

In the Jewish religion, it is the New Year.  Based on the Gregorian calendar, the year starts over around this time, providing Jews (and anyone else for that matter) to reflect over the last year or even one’s entire life, and to think about that past, but also look to the future.

It has been almost two years since I wrote my last blog post, so here we are, starting new.  Architecture, by nature, is repetitive, cyclical, even sometimes dictated. Rarely does an architect have the opportunity to design something totally fresh and new. Rather, architects are reflective. We reinvent forms and styles and proportion, already given to us by history or nature into new ideas, reflecting our concepts, our design or our aesthetic desires.

Look around, and notice the reflective nature of buildings, not literally, but notice how the built environment reflects on forms or shapes or materials, often created within the architectural designs surrounding us.

~Barron Schimberg, AIA, LEED AP