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Saturday, February 15, 2020

2 Essentials When Starting a New Project (for New Architects and Students)

Welcome to my Blog!
In this article today I’m going to do a review-evaluation of the strategy I always follow to create and design my projects, same as I was doing before in my previous posts reviewing some of my projects, but this time it is going to be a little bit different.

Why is that? Because I will follow a new strategy in the up-next posts to come; I am going to make my blog, in general, even more, professional and more instructive.

In fact, I will be adding more tutorial tips within the evaluation of the design process. This process will be related to two major factors: the Concept and the Presentation.

2 Essential Basics To Follow When Starting A New Project

In the first place comes the Concept, which means in other words, the way of thinking to generate the project’s idea and the goal from creating the project and from every related element spinning around in the same orbit.

In my opinion, if you have an architect’s educational background you should easily understand the meaning of those words and if you haven’t I hope you will do after reading this article.
In the second place, the Presentation, which refers to the method used to show up our project idea the best way possible, if it is on the behalf of the client or either for the contractor in charge of construction.

So it’s evident to know from what preceded, that the presentation of the technical or shop drawings should be the clearest and easy-to-understand for best and quick execution on the field without issues of any kind.

The Teamwork and Missing the Identity

Having that said, it’s important to say that this strategy may not convince all people and especially professional ones. Why? Simply because not everyone has the same way of thinking and doesn’t envisage matters the same way and may have other solutions for the same problem cited here. 

This makes me agree with the teamwork that might be a solution when it comes to unifying the strategy followed to execute any project.

But another problem might emerge from nowhere if I can say, and in my opinion, it will be a fundamental issue here; it’s what I called the Missing Identity of the project.

So, I presume that no one will agree totally with the teamwork at least at the first stage, the Concept. But when it comes to the Execution stage or the Presentation, then it is better to follow a teamwork strategy, and sharing the experiences might be helpful in some cases.

The Execution stage here can be or should be a part of the second phase mentioned above: the Presentation. Why? It is because, in my strategy of work, the first place shouldn’t be divided into other sub-partitions for the same reason cited previously in this article.

Let’s start by describing the Concept phase and the trajectory that it follows to reach our goals.

The Concept

As it is revealed within its name, the Concept means the idea which lies beneath the project.

In my thinking, it should be clear, obvious, and evident. What’s wrong with most of the projects that I host almost every day, is it’s their missing identity; and the first question that came to my mind which you shouldn’t ask when analyzing any project is “Hell! What’s the idea from all this stuff?”, “ Why is that orientation is like that?”, “What does it mean to rotate the whole building that way?”, “Why did we choose that color on the walls? There was an obligation to use it?”… and so on.

The variation and the non-singularity of the answer will be the worst run away from confronting the problem ever.

Yes, that’s true. The saddest thing that I could ever hear will be that imprecise answers about what the real idea is behind choosing this shape and not that one and vice versa.

In fact when some designers don’t have a convincing answer about why they choose to direct their project in that direction for example, and to just say because “I liked it and it’s like that” is the worst thing that can ever happen!.

On the contrary, if they can prove that in that direction there was an old axis that was leading people to a specific target, then and only at that time, we can agree with the meaningful and legality of the reason, and thereafter the whole Concept will be created and in the right way, based on this simple but smart fact.
  • You might need more Concept Theories or thoughts to enlarge your knowledge, which is a great idea after all. I did do the research for you and find out a cool downloadable e-book about this specific topic. Check it out now!

Using the Module as a Unit in the Concept

Another essential for a good project start is by identifying the basic module of the project; in other terms, each project has a specific module or unit which will be used to determine the snap of that project or its repetitive module.

Let’s have some practical examples of what was said:

If we took a commercial center which is composed of a shopping mall and other entertainment facilities like restaurants, cafeterias or cinemas, and other similar departments and after analyzing the facts and the constraints of this kind of projects, the first problem that will face us is the parking and the number required to insure.

At this stage, another fact will submerge from the first one which is the implantation of the structural supports in a way to not disturb the car’s circulation within the building and the relation with the incoming and outcoming flow of cars.
Here, the best solution is to use the method of the unit module mentioned above and I will explain how.

The first thing to do is to identify the unit and its dimensions that should be used in the project. In that case, it should be the parking unit itself. Which means a rectangle of an (a×b) centimeters per unit.

The measurements may vary according to the rules used in each country or a specific region. It’s good to note that we can always use a combination of two or more units at once.

Hope that the drawings beside will help to figure it out;

We noticed that the designer did use the double module means each module is equal to the double of the original or almost.

With this method, we can easily achieve the structural study with a regular and precise layout of the supports without getting disturbed with the implantation and the layout of the structural design.

That way the designer will use the grid that results from this alignment and will implant its structural supports with the same number of parking.

And as the columns’ axis was fixed in the basement of the building then all the other floors will follow the same grid or what we called the axage or the axis orientation (grid line).

Thus, the first objection was solved the right way because both the structural and the flow of circulation were fixed.

Still, remain the second objection which is the architectural design that might be limited somehow, but with good visualization of the Architect, it should get a magnificent result even working with a boring grid layout.
Stay tuned for a later post from this series in which I’ll review one of my favorite projects in my career that confront this constraint, but with a nice final result. Unfortunately, this project wasn’t completed or executed for a reason unknown.
Finally, the project has been reviewed and you can check it out here under the project reference Lot #3528, Zgharta ID Project.
Another example of a prototype module that can be used as a project unit, is the Hospitals.

Here, simply if we identify the unit of the bed as the relevant module, we will have all our issues almost solved.

The analysis of this complex project will show that with this method the minimum space needed for any action will be easily defined if we took into consideration the bed unit as a referential module for any needed measurements.

Such as the widths of the pathways, the rooms’ doors, and anything in between will be calculated accordingly.

The Presentation

… And we reached the second essential thing to do, the Presentation, or in other terms, the client’s and the contractor’s materials, which is the result of the first phase, e.g. the Concept.

In my opinion, no problem with the teamwork strategy at this level, but on the contrary, it should be that way as I did mention earlier. Why? Simply to get better results.

In fact, the more we hire professional and experienced people to achieve our project the more we’ll have our concept to reach its target.

The best way of doing so is to have well-detailed plans and qualified drawings.

Not on others' behalf, but in our benefit in the first place and our good reputation, because nothing compares with that; it’s the capital of each designer, better more his funds. And if you have funds enough you will reach your goal much easier.

In other words, don’t leave others' imagination to do the work; no one is better than yourself to bring your conception to life. You had created the Concept, so do it to the end and finish it to the last screw in the project and show up the real idea, the real You, that takes you a lot of time and potential to come along.

So, the worst thing to happen is to let others predict your intention from an incomprehensive or incomplete drawing you made because of its disastrous consequences.

Especially when it comes to non-professional workers whose imagination is always beyond the limits, with all my respect to any profession there, but sometimes it’s a matter of public relations.

Yes, of course…

What would you do if a person that has none spends almost 5 to 6 years -sometimes more- in educating himself in the college, to learn something you already know since you were on the education seats?

It’s okay that experience is important but sometimes not even once this worker had the opportunity to update his knowledge. Isn’t it possible that what was acceptable for years before wasn’t so in our current days?... And time is always changing and so do the technical discoveries;

Almost every day some new basics and theories are emerging and taking the place of the old ones, changing on its way all the concepts which were well-known as the-one-and-only since years before.

I hope that the main idealization from what it precedes did reach the biggest number of my readers out there.

Whatever is your profession or position, the respect of others is a must;

All the designers and architects, seniors or juniors, suffer from the same thing and they are not against the rules and the good work. So if someone did a mistake somewhere there is a better place to judge him the right way.

Using The Relevant PC Software

Back to the Presentation: As we said before, the drawings should be comprehensive and professional in a way that it describes itself without the need to explain the mission of every single line within.

If it is a shop drawing related to woodwork for example, such as frameworks or else, the installation process must be clear and clean, with all the details needed for installation and fixing.

Good to know that nowadays the drafting process must be done via a CAD drafting program as required from almost all the official government departments and private sector as well, to facilitate tasks that will not be as much accurate if done manually, such as calculating areas, quantities and even much more.

The best of all the Computer-Aided-Design (CAD) software that still at its leading position in the market since many years ago, is the AutoCAD™ program.

Even the appearance of many other competitive programs, such as ArchiCAD and Revit recently, couldn’t stop him from growing up to the top-selling in the market today. The first time I was using AutoCAD refers to version 12.

Book Recommendation | Buy a Book Online!

If you still didn’t use AutoCAD yet, well it’s time to start over, because your work relies on it! Here’s a valuable tutorial Kit, I picked on your intention at the following link available to purchase online on the Jamalon.com site, the online bookstore:


Exercise Workbook, by Author Cheryl R. Shrock,
to help you in your ACAD learning journey!

Good to know, that the more you practice with AutoCAD the more you will increase your knowledge and your speed in manipulating the commands and various tasks.

It is also good to mention that a margin for extra notes which will include the specifications of the materials used is always helpful and important to be present and noticeable.

Is Visualization Important?!

In the end, good visualization of the coming project is important for your client, therefore be sure to present at least one view or perspective of what it will be his future home if we are talking about a private residence.

Try the most realistic rendering with the real materials that you intend to use to better visualize your idea and remember a single thing; the client cannot read what’s inside your mind, he just wants to see a real photo that reflects what’s in yours!

The use of relevant Computer-Aided-Drafting software for rendering outputs is a must.

I highly suggest using the 3DS max design program from Autodesk™, which is the same company that produces the AutoCAD™ as well: it is powered with a photo-real simulator (the mental ray engine) that produces a powerful rendered photo-stills or animated same as reality with all its materials and textures.

Refer to my previous article for the complete review of the book:
Mastering mental ray_book
The Cover of the Book
Publisher: Sybex Books


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