on light reading, code, and babylonians

3 life points to whoever can tell me what font the title is.

So the AHHP arrived just in time for the weekend (collective yay/groan depending on how boring/exciting your weekends typically are). Looks like a good chunk, 400+ pages, are dedicated to the project, including programming, delivery, and management. I’m secretly a little excited to give it a read, it’s one of those things that I think will help with my professional work in addition to the examination process. If anything, I might understand a little better how decisions are made within the office.

I’ve got quite the stack of materials to go through at this point. I think I’ve navigated the forums and guides well enough to feel that I’ll have my bases covered. I’m developing a study guide (will be sure to post it as soon as it’s complete) that follows the content area online published by NCARB. It should be a good method of verifying that all of the topics are covered. That being said, I’m not sure how much time it will take to compile all of the information, but doing so should be beneficial in itself. Nate went camping with his buddies for the weekend, so with my favorite beau/distraction out of cellphone range, I have no excuse not to focus.

The Code of Hammurabi carved onto a human-sized stone stele (and we think lugging around the IBC is bad.)

Now, how about a history tangent? I’ve been brushing up on the IBC and ADA, and while looking up a reference, got sidetracked reading about historical building code. I had forgotten about the Code of Hammurabi, Babylonian law enacted during the late 1700s BC, which stipulated how disputes were to be settled and liability ensured. The short of it: if you screw up, you’re screwed. This included the construction business, with laws like the following:

No. 229: “If a builder builds a house for someone, and does not construct it properly, and the house which he built falls in and kills its owner, then the builder shall be put to death.”

Gulp. Perhaps this is the ancestor to the strict life safety codes that are in place now. I suppose all contractors would have been fairly competent, or able to talk their way out of fault. Still, with that threat, I don’t think I would have gone near a profession in the building industry (not like I would have been able to as a woman anyway). It’s interesting to think about how important safe buildings are to us, regardless of time or culture. Creating a sense of place and a beautiful building has been instilled in architects as a critical component of our work. Yet I realize that when I think of magnificent structures like gothic cathedrals, palaces and state houses, or libraries and museums, the effort to make them stand safely for centuries is really just as fascinating as the design ideals they possess. I think I’m finally beginning to understand how holistic our profession is. The classes we take in school or the exams we study for that have no relation to each other at the time ultimately have the opportunity to become integrated in the professional setting. When done successfully, that’s when we see marvelous architecture.

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2 thoughts on “on light reading, code, and babylonians

  1. Casey says:

    Hi Jenny!

    I’m getting ready to take the PPP and you have been so helpful. I would like to know if you ended up reading all of The Architect’s Handbook of Professional Practice in preparation for the exam and whether or not you thought it was critical in your passing result? I have already taken SPD and CDS and thought I would try and conquer the PPP while that information was fresh in my mind. What are your thoughts? Thanks for the help!

    • jennypdx says:

      Hi Casey! I didn’t read the whole AHPP, rather only the parts that really applied to the exam, Section 3 I think it was. I don’t think it was critical to my passing…I found studying the contract documents and listening to the shiff hardin lectures to be more useful. I also found myself referring to my personal experience at the office…on many questions I’d think to myself “If the contractor asked us that, we’d probably respond by saying…” it worked really well. That being said, if you have the time to read through the AHPP on topics you don’t understand or have experience with, I’d recommend it. It’s a great resource not only for the PPP exam, but also for your career.

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