WORK. It's what we do, what we obsess over, celebrate, complain about, get paid for. We may call it Art, but it's still work. Particularly for creative types, where we do our work must have something to do with how it turns out, for better or worse - yet we rarely get to see behind the curtain.

We would like you to share something about your special place where creativity blooms. So where do you work?

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Evolution of An Architectural Office

While perusing vintage photos of the original Dreyfuss & Blackford drafting room, I was struck by the  changes over  the years. Herewith, five decades of change in an Architectural workplace.
Mid - 1960's and the drafting room was pristine. No paper, other than the drawing sheet you were laying pencil to; one black telephone, one ashtray, one roll of trace. This was the Modern Age - no more aprons, smocks or visors.
By the 1980's, carpeting replaced lino for better sound control and half of the lights have been disconnected - perhaps all that cheap electricity turned out to be too much of a good thing. Drafting stations remain much the same, minus a few ashtrays.  Standing racks of drawings allude to the increase in drawing complexity and quantity required to describe buildings.
The 1990's brought the Information Age to architects. Computer-Aided Drafting (CAD) meant a distinct department of technically proficient drafters (affectionately called Cad-dogs) separate from the old-school architects - who are still using pencils.
By 2010, the office is 'fully automated.' Indirect lighting is infinitely adjustable; all workstations revolve around a computer and most have two LCD monitors. Reference drawings are getting smaller in size (11X17 vs. 30X42) but multiplying in number. While sketch and trace paper is still used for brainstorming, everything is soon committed to computer-based files.
In 2011, the paperless office is still a distant dream for some of us. The more we commit to electrons for our work, the more we print paper records of these transactions, resulting in blizzard conditions.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

My little refuge from the rain

Built in 1937, this drafting table was custom made for the home studio of architect Leonard F. Starks. Drafting boards have gone the way of the biplane and this space now functions as a web-desk. It's about 3ft X 5ft, in an L-shaped room that's about 8X12 ft. The monitor obscures some of the shelves, nooks and cubbies - which are my favorite features. Clutter is inevitable, but it could be improved. All the cables, cords and phone diminish the available desk surface, leaving room for not much more than a single notebook. Within a short time, though, the desktop phone and overstuffed inbox should be phased out, making more room. Wireless devices may help as well.

One of the better features of this space is the preserved character of the vintage woodwork and built-in cabinets. The worst part is how awkwardly the new technology sits within the old.  I'll be working on that in 2011.

 The opposite end of the room, a mere 12 feet away, is my music corner and library. It's great to step away from the desk and strum a bit on the guitar from time to time, or peruse a fine art or reference book. A short walk to revive the soul.
My favorite feature is the vintage Belfast clock, a gift many years ago from a dear, departed friend.  If you've got to keep track of time, best to do it in style.