Friday, May 27, 2016

Lessons on architecture



I love architecture, though I'm not an architect, and never studied architecture. Of course, I love system architecture, which is both different from building and construction per se, and identical -- because a building is a system, just as any other such integrated structure is a system.


Frank Gehry is one of Canada-America's more esteemed architects.  He does projects around the world.  The picture is of the museum in Bilbao, Spain.  Of course, Gehry always designs some pretty unusual stuff, having said things like this about his projects (take note: these ideas scale pretty well; there's nothing inherently 'small' or 'large' about any of them):

  • Models: thorough with the envisioning and conceptualization, Gehry often building 100 models before he 'sees' it.  (Spiral method, anyone?)
  • Customer commitment: makes a priority of customer buy-in, and in the end, the customer never regrets -- editorial: never say never; and the ultimate buy-in may be the embedded customer
  • Functional success: Wow! it has to work.  Has everyone heard and internalized that one? It's pretty hard to general value, even intangible value like 'esteem', if the thing doesn't work, or the roof leaks, etc
  • Practical to build: You have to be able to actually build it:  technologically feasible and feasibly economical (perhaps we should revisit the Sydney opera house--not a Gehry design -- for a lesson in 'can you build it' and if you can, can you afford to build it?), and
  • Other people's money: It has to meet a budget! (Back to PM 101, and the consequences of "other people's money")

Actually, on these last two points, another flamboyant architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, never actually got it.  Many of his buildings didn't work (roofs and windows leaked, for one thing), and he rarely (some say never) met a budget.  And he didn't miss closely, he missed by a mile!

Some of these problems are like any 'new to the world' endeavor: stuff happens!  But some is just downright delusional or deliberately deceptive.  Some advice just never gets old: Buyer beware!




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