Potpourri March 2014

I collect a bunch of ideas for blog posts in a draft email on Gmail. Some of those ideas grow into full-fledged posts, which you read every Monday. Some, however, were never to be, like this note to self that I found today:

Elevate a Pittsburgh Street: Go down a block and take pictures, stitch them together, somehow key them to a map. How is this better than Google street view? It isn’t.

It’s like a full train of thought that just comes to the end of the line and stalls. But that doesn’t mean these ideas weren’t good, just that they never would stand on their own. So today’s post is a grab bag of thoughts that just need some additional support. Think of it like an architectural open-mic. For example, I had an idea for architectural typos, like all the things bad that might happen if you accidentally sent out something like this:

TI Closet

Obviously if nobody called to ask a question, the results would be embarrassing:


The biggest difference is that a T.I. closet requires an extra sprinkler head.

And then there are the features that I’m working on, like the architectural dictionary. I usually like to get a dozen or so definitions, but I’ve only managed to round up a few since the last time. I’d have felt bad just doing them on their own, but now that there’s some other stuff around I feel less guilty. Remember, I’m always taking requests for things to add to the dictionary via comments, facebook, twitter or email.

Field Measure (v): To visit the site and firmly establish the existing conditions. Take extra careful note of things that need to stay, like load bearing walls and other things that are difficult and expensive to remove. X-ray vision is a plus.

Pier (n): Vertical primary structural member, especially that with a square or rectangular cross section. You could call it a square column and you’d be right.

Pilaster (n): Looks like a column that is part of a wall, but is purely decorative. Often used to accentuate doors or other openings.

Value Engineer (v): The process of eliminating or altering portions of a project with the goal of reducing cost. All that cool stuff you got excited about and drew extensive details for? Gone during Value Engineering. Something that has been eliminated in this way is said to have been “Value Engineered”, or “VE’d”.

And finally, there are the little updates I like to make every now and then but don’t really deserve their own post. Like this one: the AIA approached me about featuring my post about the proscenium on their site. I could have just said “go ahead” and that would have been that, but I wanted to take another pass at the wording and add the pictures from another theater I had been to since. It’s different enough that I would recommend you take a look even if you already read the one from a week or two ago. Here it is if you are interested.

Hey, that reminds me:

Proscenium (n): In traditional theater design, it is the arch that is built around the stage that frames the performance and keeps all the messy parts and pieces out of view of the audience.


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