Life of an Architect – My Favorites 2011

Bob Borson —  December 28, 2011 — 1 Comment

Yesterday was a list of the most popular posts on Life of an Architect for 2011 – and I like all of them since they took effort and energy to create them. But that’s not to say they are my favorites, just the most viewed for one reason or another. Maybe it was a timing issue or maybe they just weren’t good enough to crack the top 10 for 2011, but I have assembled the posts that I liked the most along with a brief description of why they are special to me. In no particular order:

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Snow Storm - Looking for the Yeti

Snow Storm – Looking for the Yeti

Write my own Obituary?

January 4th, 2011 – This piece was pretty difficult to write but in the end, it is something that at some point my daughter will read … if I am still alive, she’ll probably be embarrassed but If I’m dead, I’d like to think she would like reading it.

Excerpt – Today I am participating in an exercise where you write your own obituary. I didn’t really want to do it  but thought it would be interesting to see what I came up with – no rewrites or edits allowed, 15 minute time limit.

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Bridge Wall Section - construction drawing

What makes you a designer?

January 13th, 2011 – Maybe you’ve noticed (or maybe you haven’t) but I am an architect and on occasion I actually talk about what I do and why I think it’s important. This post resonates with Bob the older guy trying to explain to those intern architects who are a little teeny tiny bit younger than I am who don’t see the value of their role preparing construction drawings. I had to figure this out for myself and it’s a piece of unsolicited advice that I think is particularly valuable.

Excerpt – Not everything I do is big picture design – from the overall time spent, very little is – but I consider coordinating a project and the details of the construction of that project integral to a successful design.

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Baby Skeletons

Photography and my life

August 11th, 2011 – Since I have started writing Life of an Architect, a great many positive things have happened. While photography has always been an interest, the act of taking pictures went from “on occasion” to the level where I generally have my camera with me all the time. Just the act of taking more pictures has brought my game up a bit to where I’m not embarrassed by the final product anymore. It also means I don’t have to deal with copyright issues since I use my own pictures.

Excerpt – Photography plays a big role in the practice and promotion of architecture and architectural blogs and websites. This is a look at some of my favorite photos from the last year, some of which you might be surprised to learn that some were taken in my bathroom. (what?!)

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Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh Museé d'Orsay

Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh, Museé d’Orsay, Paris, France

Through the eyes of a child

March 7th, 2011 – This was a piece that I wrote after I took a trip to the Museé d’Orsay with my family. Sometimes a post just writes itself after a small spark of an idea or revelation occurs. Being a grown-up (notice how I didn’t say “mature”) but having my then 5 year old daughter with me had a profound impact on how I observe things and as a result, this is a post that I hope my daughter can appreciate when she is a little older herself.

Excerpt – During a trip to the Museé d’Orsay I was reminded of how to actually look at something by my 5 year old daughter … you have to slow down in order to see what you are looking at.

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Texas Society of Architects - group presentation with Bob Borson

Presentation Skill – Tips and Techniques

October 13th, 2011 – I have always been a talker but not normally in a large setting or to sizable groups of people. Since I started Life of an Architect, that has significantly changed and modifying my personality – or rather trying to take advantage of my predilection to talk, has been a career advancing process. What I have learned is that I am better presenting individually than on panels because I tend to dial down my hyperbole when sharing the stage with others and that is my single greatest presentation strength.

Excerpt – Unlike most professions, architects are fairly accustomed to standing up in front of a group of people and publicly speaking … but that doesn’t mean they like it (or even worse)  – that they are any good at doing it. Here are some of my favorite tips and techniques that help me with my public speaking.

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Glass Block windows suck

This really make my face hurt

June 27th, 2011 – I have made it a general rule on Life of an Architect to not be mean or nasty when  it comes to the efforts of others. I know we have some projects that we don’t highlight because – and let’s be real honest here – we lost control of the project and don’t feel that the final product represents our abilities. The house I write about in this post is the only one where I stepped out and said something nasty without trying to hide the actual house by focusing in on some bad detail. In this case, the entire house is a bad detail but since it involved glass block, I was pulled offsides and wrote this post.

Excerpt – So … I’ve waited this one out and they have come up with a solution. When I drove by and saw what they had done I nearly rear-ended the car in front of me. So how did they solve that nasty problem with the center duct tape spot? Let’s take a look shall we?

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Master bathroom shower - section sketch

Master Bath Shower – you displease me

October 17th, 2011 – One of the reasons I think the people who like my blog actually like it is that it has some personal elements to it and doesn’t come across as a corporate vehicle (although feel free to contact me so that we can work together *wink*) Anyway…. I mostly focus on the good, rarely the bad, and occasionally the silly, which unfortunately tends to always be my own house (sad face). Oh well, if I can’t make fun of others, at least I can make fun of myself.

Excerpt – Despite the awesome “I like to party naked for everyone to see” vibe that exists in this shower, the silliness of this room has finally broken my architectural spirit.

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That brings my list of favorite posts to an end for 2011. I have renewed my web hosting contract for another year so I suppose I will be around for at least a little longer. I have mentioned that there are a few changes I am exploring for 2012 in order to keep my interest level high – this has been a lot of fun but I have reached the point where it is an obscene amount of work for a hobby (and I got an Xbox for Christmas…). One thing that I am going to change for next year is to focus more articles on detailing, products I like and the status of different projects. At least, that’s the plan.

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even better