Architectural Project Manager

Architectural Project Manager

DougAPowell

Austin, TX

Male, 33

I work in small 2-man architecture firm where I literally wear every hat imaginable (except Owner). I answer the phones, clean the toilets, pay the bills and do the design work. Sometimes that means drawing plans and details necessary to get a building built and other days it may be larger scale projects like city and town planning. It's not always glamorous but it's enjoyable and it's an opportunity to learn how to keep a business running and to learn how to put the built environment together.

SubscribeGet emails when new questions are answered. Ask Me Anything!Show Bio +

Share:

Ask me anything!

Submit Your Question

20 Questions

Share:

Last Answer on September 17, 2012

Best Rated

Have you ever presented a blueprint to a client who absolutely hated it?

Asked by inode almost 6 years ago

Not often but occasionally we miss the mark. The great thing about the design profession is that you always give something your best shot and present it to the client and if they don't like we find out why and - as the old saying goes - go back to the drawing board (but these days that's sketches on paper and a computer). One reason we've been pretty successful at delivering satisfactory products to our clients is because our firm doesn't really come with a prescribed design aesthetic. We both have our personal preference but we strive to design to our clients' wants and needs.

I don't know if it's an issue in Austin, but what does it mean when a building is "earthquake-proof"? What makes it particularly resistant?

Asked by damian.yi almost 6 years ago

Usually in Austin the only natural disaster-related design consideration we are concerned with is wind load (mostly from tornadoes). Also, I must say that design considerations for earthquakes is on the periphery of my knowledge so I may get some of this wrong. Earthquake-proof can mean several things but generally it means a building is designed in such a way so that it can withstand an earthquake of a particular magnitude (depending on region). Usually that means that the building should be able to flex and move somewhat fluidly without collapse. As one could imagine a building made completely of stone (like they did in say Roman times) would not be particularly earthquake-proof because stone is only stable in one direction - compression. You also don't want a building's structure to be too rigid (as some steel structures can be) because sometimes that will cause the cladding and fenestration systems to fail and that can injure people as well. Another consideration is the foundation itself. Depending on the soils condition and building type you may want to use a flat slab so that the building moves and "floats" on the surface during an earthquake. There are also cases where it's favorable to dig down to seismically stable bedrock and build your foundation from there.

Do architects get paid upon completion of the design, or completion of the building?

Asked by Killa Cal almost 6 years ago

Sometimes both. If they are engaged for Construction Administration services they will be paid during the construction process as well.

Were there any structural deficiencies in the Twin Towers that, if avoided, could've kept them from falling? Or did the size and placement of the impact make the collapses unavoidable no matter what?

Asked by Anon almost 6 years ago

I had a feeling this question might come up. I've read several of the reports about the collapses and while there are many aspects that seem puzzling I think overall the collapse was probably unavoidable due to the place of the impact, the amount of the fuel that was dispensed and the failure of some of the fire suppression systems to contain the blaze. Having said that I'm not a structural engineer so I'm really speaking outside my normal purview.

Are there any famous architects you think are totally overrated?

Asked by Jammers almost 6 years ago

I personally think Frank Gehry's brand of architecture is way overblown. I think when he first started honing his craft it was exciting and interesting but I think he settled into a niche/comfort zone and it devalued what used to be interesting architecture. In my opinion architecture that is mostly sculpture should be a 1-off kind of thing. If I were a client and and hiring a world-famous architect to design a building for me (and paying their sky-high fees) I would not any other buildings to look like it. Just my personal opinion.

If a structure were to collapse or somehow fall apart due to a design defect, is the architect liable in any way?

Asked by Imagine_50 almost 6 years ago

If it were determined that a structure failed or did not perform as expected (say, a roof leak) due to a design defect then yes, the architect can be held liable for some or all of the damage. It just really depends on the situation.

Was there any one particular building that blew your mind to the point that you said, "That's it, I'm going into architecture."

Asked by Masey Mase almost 6 years ago

First, what people are able to do with the built environment always amazes and intrigues me. Seeing how far other architects and designers can push the envelope is one of the things that keeps me motivated. But as far as when I decided I wanted to go into architecture I would have to say fourth grade. My father is also an architect and he agreed to do a presentation at career day. All the kids in the class were transfixed by his drawings and had more questions for him than any other kid's parent. I knew that if what my dad did for a living was that interesting as a fourth grader it would have to be great as an adult. Of course, this is before I learned how much an architect makes (heh). My dad was the most popular presenter of the week until Jack Del Rio (then with the Dallas Cowboys) came and presented what he did for a living. Even after that I still wanted to be an architect.