May 16, 2010

use it as a bike rack?

Monday started with the hum of the scanner working to put the last few magazine articles into the computer. It was intended that I would spend Monday making the last few adjustments to the bench project but that was altered at the last minute.

With the deadline for the website approaching in the coming weeks, Randy decided that it would be better to have me scan in the last of the articles. The only problem with that the only articles left to scan were the ones I couldn’t find. Randy disappeared for about twenty minutes and came back with a pile of magazines. After sorting through the magazines about half of the stack were articles I had already scanned, the other half were the missing ones. Just as soon as I started scanning the articles, our computer tech, Sean, showed up to do some tuning on Randy’s machine.

Doesn’t sound like a problem, right? Wrong. Randy’s computer is the only computer that has the scanner software on it so I was out of luck until Sean finished his work on Randy’s computer. This situation gave me the possibility to show Randy that I can think quickly on my feet and am always looking for ways to be more efficient. Since scanning articles wasn’t going to be an option at that time, I put on my coat and headed to the shop.

I know I’ve stated before reasons why RBA is as successful as it is, but another reason is because of the determination everyone exhibits. At other firms, the employees lack the willpower to want to excel with their firm. For instance, one of my friends who works for another architectural firm said that he knows employees who hardly work from eight to five. And during that time, they’re either on the internet or off task. At RBA, we are a firm of seven and the projects we do encourage everyone to work 110 percent the entire time we are there, even if the clock takes us past 5 o’clock, past 6 o’clock, sometimes past 9 o’clock.

While in the shop, I swiftly went to work on the bench. With the installation of the bench approaching on May 18th, getting the finals bends and prep work finished was vital. It was very helpful that Randy and I took the bench to the site this past Tuesday to do some field verifications. We marked out the exact location the bench would be located on the site, and made some field measurements that would help me finish the final few bends to the rebar. While we were taking the measurements and marking the location, Katherine Leo (Take-A-Seat coordinator), asked us, “Do you think someone will use it as a bike rack?” Her question caught me off guard, but Randy’s response was even more surprising. He said, “I hope so. We want this to be an urban installation with many uses.” I know if this bench was located on campus in Manhattan, I could see it used as a bike rack and a bench.

As this internship is entering its final stages, I can say that everything I’ve worked on, been apart of, or witnessed while working for RBA has only strengthened my knowledge in this field. For instance, a lot of graduates and professors often times say, “a lot of what you learn won’t be in the classroom, it’ll be learned in the field.” After thinking about that statement, I’ve found that it’s really true. Just in the months that I’ve worked at the firm I have acquired new skills and sharpened the others. For example when a project is finished in studio, that’s it, it doesn’t go into the construction phase. But at RBA, when the drawings are complete, they go into the construction process. The construction process is what we don’t learn in school. We receive knowledge of what goes on in this process from school but you really understand how everything goes together when working at RBA and being so involved in the construction.

By the end of the week, the magazine articles were finished and sent to the web programmer so they could take things to the next level in the completion stage. The bench had also been tweaked, rust polished off, and several clear coats added to ensure durability when installed. I’m very proud of the Take-A-Seat bench project and am excited to see the bench when it’s installed at the site.

The weekend was spent enjoying the sun on Saturday and getting out in the downtown area. We biked around the downtown area and went and looked at the construction of the new baseball stadium for the Omaha Royals. I also got signed up for the Bike-to-Work week program established by Mayor Jim Suttle. On Friday, he declared that from May 17th -21st Omaha would participate in becoming a greener city by biking to work. Last year, the Bike-to-Work week had over 700 members and a total of 170,000 miles on bikes rather than in cars. It’s just something I can do for the city.

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