What An Architect Does – A Graphic Tale
Posted on: 10/09/2013, by : David Locicero
Image (c)2013 Keith Palma of Cogitate Design. Used with permission
Image (c)2013 Keith Palma of Cogitate Design. Used with permission

When I saw this post by Keith Palma of Cogitate Design, a North Carolina architecture firm, I knew I had to share it. This is a brilliant graphic description of what an architect does. The illustration above, from the post linked below, is just one from a series. This one illustrates the Schematic Design phase. Check out the full post:

http://architectstrace.wordpress.com/2013/10/06/what-an-architect-does/

It reminds me of something I overheard long ago. I was at Stars Cafe (For the younger set, Stars Cafe was Jeremiah Tower’s restaurant located in the Civic Center area). I had just been to the SFMOMA which was at that time in the SF War Memorial Building (I told you it was a long time ago). Drinking my cocktail chatting with a friend, we overheard two people at the adjacent table:

Lady Who Lunches #1: How’s your remodeling project going?

Lady who Lunches #2: It’s taking forever. I don’t know what takes so much time. All the architect has to do is draw.

My friend and I looked at one another, repressed our urges to howl at her, ordered a second round of cocktails and did our best to ignore them and talk about the exhibit we’d just seen.

This incident made it clear to me that most people don’t know what architects do other than “design”, whatever that is, and draw, though most think all we do is pretty drawings and “blue prints”. Mr. Palma’s graphic post is a beautiful illustration of what an architect does from the start of a project, through each phase of a project to completion. For a less elegant but more verbal description of what an architect does, check my process page. It isn’t easy, but if it was it wouldn’t be nearly as fun or satisfying.

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