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architecture

architecturebusiness

Picking Up the Pieces

Never fire your contractor. Unless, of course, you absolutely have to. I was reminded of this in a recent conversation with a contractor/friend who I’ve worked with on past projects. He had been brought in about halfway through an extensive home renovation to pick up the pieces and finish the…
jwa
September 17, 2021
architectureLife

Stairs Are Evil

There. I’ve said it. Stairs. Are. Evil. Fresh-out-of-school interns can attest to the drudgery of drawing and detailing stairs. More than once I’ve heard students heading off to larger firms being told to enjoy drawing stair details and restrooms for a few years. I cannot imagine, nor do I want…
jwa
September 10, 2021
architectureLGBTLiferenovation

That Was Unexpected

A few years back, the host at a neighborhood July 4th party shared how she handled the inevitable “What do you do?” while traveling for work. With each conversation, her answer changed and was always something quite out of the ordinary. Her most recent trip had involved a story about…
jwa
August 27, 2021
architecturebusiness

Unapproachable

Once in a while I am reminded of why people don’t see architects as approachable. Very rarely am I reminded of that twice in the same year. At a new project meeting in January, the contractor thanked me for coming and then dropped this little gem: “Most architects I meet…
jwa
August 6, 2021
architectureFood for thought

Zoomed Out

I am officially Zoomed out. I never thought I would find myself saying that, considering how much Zoom (or Teams or Google Meets) has been a part of our lives for the last 18 months. Sure, the first few times were kind of awkward, but meeting virtually wasn’t too difficult…
jwa
July 30, 2021
architectureLifeTravel

Sense of Misdirection

Architects should have a good sense of direction, for no other reason than our professors pound that into us in nearly every studio. We’re taught the importance of siting a building to take advantage of natural light and topography. Then when we finally start working, every plan drawing is marked…
jwa
July 23, 2021
architectureFood for thought

Talk Talk

In 2010, one of my business partners at the time goaded me into submitting a speaking proposal for a state conference. Neither of us had presented at a conference before, so this would be a first for us both. What’s the worst that could happen? Minnesota at the start of…
jwa
June 4, 2021
architectureFood for thought

The Higher the Hair

Homebuilders in the South (or at least in my part of it) appear to be operating under the old adage: “The higher the hair, the closer to God.” I was reminded of this recently while working through renovation plans for an existing home in one of Dallas’ suburbs. In addition…
jwa
May 21, 2021
architectureLifeTravel

Architecture is a Drag

A few years ago, James and I purchased photographs from a local artist that quickly became two of our favorite art pieces. Both depict a drag queen in full regalia – pageant gown, full hair and makeup, crown – performing very non-drag-queen tasks. One of which has her wielding a…
jwa
February 26, 2021
architectureLife

Texas, We Have a Problem

Takeaways from this week’s snowpocolypse: One - snow is no longer pretty. Two - minus one is not an acceptable temperature no matter where you live. Three - ERCOT needs to get their you-know-what together. And four, every home should have a back-up generator. Growing up in Texas, I know…
jwa
February 19, 2021
Spotted Dog Architecture