A few years ago, while I was out with an non-architect friend, we walked by a relatively new development downtown. As was my typical habit, my mouth fell open as my head tilted back to take in as much of the floating facade as I could. I stopped and stared… utterly fascinated with at what I was looking at. My friend didn’t realize my absence until about a half a block later.
“You ok?” he asked, as he walked back.
“Oh, yeah… I was just looking at how they connected that curtain wall system.”
I prepared myself for the usual eye rolling/sarcastic remark. What he said next has stayed with me ever since: “You really do see the world differently, don’t you?”
Yeah, I guess I do, and my suspicion is that many of you are the same way. Unlike other professions, ours is one where we can geek out almost anytime given our built environment. For me when it comes to building design and construction systems, I can’t help but be anxious to learn as much as I can. I want to know why things are built the way they are, how materials realize or ruin a design, and what happens to structures as time takes its toll. It’s art, it’s science, and it’s awesome. With that in mind, I look forward to using this exam as an opportunity to appreciate the buildings I’m around a little more, and like I have for years, continue to look at my world a little differently.
That being said, I’ve got to hit the books hard sooner than later, and I’ve manged to get my hands on a nice stack of materials, including:
– Kaplan exam book and Q&A book
– Archiflash and Kaplan Flashcards
– Fundamentals of Building Construction…another old textbook that I’m glad I kept!
– Building Codes Illustrated
– Materials from the FTP
– Shiff Hardin Lectures … which I think I’ve probably listened to more than the students who were in the actual course.
It looks like I’ll be busy again. I don’t know how much I will rely on the Kaplan exam book given the other materials, but I do plan on working through the Q&A book like I did on Structures. It looks like there’s a lot of repeat material from CDS/PPP that I need to refer to as well when I study BDCS as is relates to professional practice.
Semi-related to that…an architecture firm up in Seattle called BUILD has an awesome blog on the profession of architecture, which I encourage you to check out if you get a chance (they also have a stunning portfolio, but I digress). While reading recently, I noticed a link to an old post on residential construction costs from 2009. In it, they put together a really handy cheat sheet (I hope they don’t mind that I’m posting it here, too) on the costs and inclusions typically associated with a project of this type. One of the questions that I’ve seen come up on the forum is how much architecture fees are in a project and/or what else they include. While this is aimed for projects in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, it’s still a nice reference to have.
I roughed out my study guide based on the NCARB exam guide and it’s already 15 pages without any actual information written. As some of you have warned, I can see how this division is considered a doozie. Here’s hoping the fascination I’m starting with stays with me through the entire process. Maybe I’ll try studying in some of my favorite spaces around town to keep my spirits up… as long as there aren’t any new structures to get distracted by next door.