Tuesday, December 14, 2004

My First Humongo Rant

CAD Monkey note: Those of you who know me (or even those of you who have read enough of this site) realize that, try as I might, I can’t stay on the Sunshine and Roses path for too terribly long. It isn’t natural. I could explode. While I still really enjoy my new job, the following situation has had me feeling a Bit o’ the Rant. It’s a good one; two weeks in the making. Enjoy!

The project I was assigned to, upon my arrival at Humongo, has proven an ever-shifting, changing beast. In that regard, it is absolutely the same as every other project I’ve worked on.
Said project began its life with one designer working on it, and was then assigned to another designer. The reason for the change arose from a need to shift workload between departments. The former designer was too busy to take it, and the current designer’s department has been slow, thus, the current designer was asked to design this job.

He has, in the world of CAD Monkey, earned the name Designer Whiny Pants, because the Project Architect keeps telling me this designer is being a whiny little bitch (my words, heh) about all the site restrictions and things we’ve done in order to better accommodate the highest income-generating, primary first floor tenant.

The site of our project is diagonal to the campus of the project’s owner (and major referral basis). Therefore, one might think our building should, architecturally, address this diagonal relationship; perhaps by emphasizing the corner facing the campus. DWP is angry because the symmetry he so badly wants isn’t going to work out without a ridiculous amount of forcing- and looking like it was forced.

The building is going to be a 7 story tower. We’ve had to add square footage, to just the first floor, in order to meet Important Tenant’s space needs. DWP is sad because of all the one-story elements around the perimeter.

In what I thought was a stroke of genius, I moved the other first floor tenant (a coke-and-chips retail area) to the front door of the building, so Important Tenant could have more contiguous space. DWP is upset because this gives the retail space “more prominence in the building.”

PA told me that every time he goes past DWP’s desk, DWP is mumbling and complaining about how ugly the building is going to be, and how the symmetry is all messed up, blah de blah blah, and so on. Dude, suck it up! You’re a designer! It’s your job to make it NOT ugly! If you don’t want to play, give it to me! I’ll make it not be ugly, and I’ll take the frickin’ symmetry and chuck it out the window, where it belongs!

Sure, this project has its limitations and problems, but I have yet to see a “real world” project that was perfect in every way. It’s so much better than the pitiful excuse for a hospital I worked on at El Hellhole. This is going to be a seven story building, most likely built out of precast concrete panels. It has so much potential for cool. I’d love to design such a thing. I keep telling the PA, “If Whiny Designer Pants doesn’t want to do it, I will!” I say it jokingly, but I’m really not joking. DWP is slated to be out of town for a majority of the schematic design schedule, whereas I will be in town from here to eternity- conveniently available for all your designing needs.

Here is my hypothesis on DWP’s proclivity for whining. Since he is a 60-ish year-old man, he has reached that stage of his career where being asked to design a building is no longer a privilege, It Is His Right for surviving the industry long enough. Obviously, DWP has forgotten what it feels like to be denied the privilege of designing anything. For the entirety of my architectural career, I have hungered for the design scraps I have been given: nurse stations, plan layouts, restroom wall tile patterns, or even a fleeting acknowledgement of my opinion on an exterior skin. Yet, I know I will continually be denied anything further because I am not a 60 year-old man.

I took this job because I had finally given up on the hope that I would be asked to design an entire building before another 30 years have passed. When I see someone, who has the opportunity to design buildings on a daily basis, whine and mope and complain about the process I want to participate in so badly, it makes me a little angry.

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