April 25, 2010

experiment or die

Randy started the week with a discussion of what was on the agenda for the week and the goals to meet by Friday. My work on the Kobe Steakhouse project was going to be put on hold for awhile. Instead, I would be working to finish the Bisson bathroom renovation and develop a working plan and 3d Viz models for the Boys Club playground renovation.

The Bisson bathroom was an opportunity to sharpen my AutoCAD skills. Most of Monday was spent researching different details for shower curbs and the way the glass wall in the shower was fastened to the wall. After searching the web and not finding an exact detail, I decided to try and detail the shower curb and wall detail myself. Once the detail drawings were constructed to the best of my knowledge, Randy reviewed them and made some changes. Being able to be creative with details and developing different ways to meet the needs of a requirement is something RBA encourages. It all comes back to the laboratory idea. Experimenting and trying new things is one of the best ways to learn. When it comes to other firms, a lot of them are too stuck in their ruts of doing the same thing for every little detail. They lack creativity which translates to mediocre projects.  At RBA I see a direct correlation between experimenting as a design philosophy of Randy’s and remarkable projects.

After the details were drawn in CAD, I printed a test set for Randy to review. Next, he red lined the final changes, I fixed all of the issues, printed a final set, and delivered them to the client. This was a fun, new experience for me. I asked a friend of mine if the firm he works for trusts him as an intern to interact with the client. He said, “They’ve (the firm) never given me the opportunity.” With the Bisson drawings finished and delivered, I began my next task; the playground renovation for the Boys Club.

If you don’t know much about the Boys Club playground requirements, here’s a brief rundown. The operators of the Club ask that the play area be a sensory integrated playground. Sensory integration is the process of the brain being fully synced with the rest of the body. For example, if it’s hot outside and you touch a metal pole, your hand knows the surface of the pole is hot and relays that information to your brain so you can react. A lot of the boys have trouble with sensory integration so by designing a playground that can help them to develop these vital skills will only be beneficial. The play structure I’ve been designing incorporates the use of water features, equipment that spins, etc., to help develop the boys sensory skills.

Once the drawings and 3d Viz model were completed, I printed out a few of the documents and gave them to Randy for his meeting with the Boys Club later that week. By the end of the week, the Bisson clients had reviewed their drawing set I delivered and asked Randy about a few design changes. Having discussed the drawings and both deciding the changes would be appropriate, I made the alterations to the construction documents, printed out the set, and redelivered them to the client again.

After a full week of AutoCAD and 3d Viz, I was ready for the weekend. This time, the weekend brought me back to Manhattan (just can’t get enough of the place)! Actually, I went back to Manhattan to visit friends and resign my apartment lease for the upcoming year. While back at KSU for a weekend, it hit me how much I really do like working in the professional field. It’s going to be very hard for me to get adjusted back to the “studio” atmosphere next fall. Although at RBA we work in a similar studio environment, it’s not the same.  RBA is just so real. Fresh. Exciting.

After catching up with friends and taking care of the lease signing appointment, I was ready to head back to Omaha. Somehow, even though it’s been months, I still haven’t lost the excitement of living and working in Omaha. I know it’s no Chicago, but it’s nice, easily navigated, and not too far from anything. Definitely a city I will be looking to come back to after I graduate from school and if I’m lucky, with Randy Brown Architects.

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