January 17, 2010

process is everything

After the second week of working at RBA, I recall a specific morning meeting that was held with Randy. This conference was unlike the others that we have had; this one was more philosophical. It wasn’t about, this is what we need to do today, this is what needs to be finished for tomorrow, etc. The topic was more about the ideas and values of the firm. Randy stated that “everything is a process” and that everything that we work on should continue to be “refined and evolved.”

This is extremely important in the design profession. Hearing Randy say “everything is a process” made me think back to school and how all of my designs and schemes that I draw up should always be constantly evolving and pushing toward a more efficient end result. Another topic that Randy discussed with us during that conference was that mistakes are ok. The catch is that you must learn from the mistake and not make the same one twice. He encourages us to think more openly and try new things and if they don’t work, figure out why it didn’t work and learn from it. It is a constant learning process.

After about 45 minutes of taking from the top of his head , Randy realized it was 9:00am so he quickly moved on to work assignments.  I was assigned to work on the DiNucci house project. First thing the next morning, Randy wanted several options of plans, sections, and elevations that could potentially work for this particular project. Thinking of creative schemes for this house was more difficult than I had at first thought it was going to be. One of the reasons being, this house was for clients who already had an images in their minds of what they wanted/didn’t want and how much they were willing to pay. Coming straight out of school where designing with a practical budget in mind is advised, I began to realize that an extra 500 square feet made a huge difference in a house that was going to cost 120 dollars a square foot to build.

A couple of options were laid out and Randy helped us refine one option that would probably be the best bet for the clients. We got the schematic design set finished and ready to be sent out for overall cost estimation the following week.

With a client meeting about the design revisions in the following weeks, a new, updated study model needed to be constructed to show how the new design was altered compared to the last one. Randy said that building models to explain spaces to clients is still the most effective way to make sure they understand everything that is going on.  Randy showed us the seven previous models he had built himself as part of the design process.

The weekend was a bit more relaxed than the last, and we were able to get out into the city and eat dinner at a Mexican restaurant, Roja. It was an interesting building with contrasting elements and numerous tectonic connections on the interior. On Sunday, we made our way to an older district of Omaha called the Old Market. This area reminded me of Westport in Kansas City with the numerous shops and restaurants. The slow paced weekend helped me absorb the city and get a better understanding of everything.

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