Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Do it yourself?

This blog has a tendency to praise all things architectural from, dare I say it, an arrogant perspective. This will probably be a continuing focus of what we write about because of the effort it takes in this country to actually become an architect. Even with this necessity of involvement in the process, even I have to admit that there is something immensely satisfying in doing a project yourself. As my wife will attest, I've built many failures with my own hands, and to this day my own brick laying wouldn't pass a punchlist inspection from a one-eyed drunken sea pirate. But every uneven wall I've ever bricked is both a source of pride in my efforts and a source of respect for quality craftsmanship.

I've told contractors that I will be the best friend they've ever had on a job because of the fact that I like to build projects on my own and know how hard it is to build buildings well. It requires an attention to the details of a wall before it is even built. Verifying layouts and making adjustments constantly while still keeping the exact detail dimensions of a piece of millwork in your head.

Every person should build something on their own as long as you can live with the failure of your own mistakes, or have the patience and money to correct them. It gives a satisfaction and respect for architecture and construction that no amount of writing can describe. My only bits advice are:

  1. Know your ability limits and tolerances for imperfection
  2. A good architect is there to facilitate your vision, not his/her own.

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