on fascination and starting the next round

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.

If only all project types had a handy cheat sheet like this!

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.

 

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8 thoughts on “on fascination and starting the next round

  1. alkikat says:

    Very cool cost cheat sheet from Build. One of my former classmates actually work there. Let me know if you’re ever in town and would like a tour of anything….

    • jennypdx says:

      Thanks for the offer, I’ll keep it in mind and let you know when I visit! I usually make it up a for few weekends during the year…it would be fun to see some different local projects.

  2. Sandy says:

    Great blog on the (painful) process of the AREs. Sounds like you’ve got a good strategy going. Good luck with the rest! And thanks for the plug!

    -Sandy

    • jennypdx says:

      Thanks for your note Sandy, I appreciate you taking the time to check the blog out! I enjoy following all of Build’s projects and posts, the firm is a true inspiration. Cheers!

  3. Stephanie R says:

    Jenny, are you studying with the Ballast book? It is one study book that has all of the materials. There are also practice tests. I have found the book to be a great resource. It is much better the Kaplan (which our office lovingly calls it Crap-lan) books. Let me know. I might be able to hook you up with some stuff.

    • jennypdx says:

      I have the Crap-lan (love that term, haha) set, but really only really refer to it for flashcards and practice problems. So far I’ve found that third party resources are the most helpful when studying. If I get stuck and need some more help I’ll let you know… thanks for the offer!

      • Stephanie R says:

        That’s interesting because I never use the 3rd party study materials. I have only been using Kaplan, Ballast, and the Archi-cad flashcards. We have both taken and passed the same 5 tests. Goes to show that there is more than one way to get through these tests!

  4. snarkitect says:

    As a recovering aka former architect who is only sticking my toe back in the water long enough to finish the ARE (and get my parents off my back), it’s amazing to see that even though I haven’t practiced architecture in two and a half years, I still always stop to study construction sites. I just can’t help it. That artistic sensibility is in our bones. It’s kind of awesome.

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