Lessons Learned Thus Far

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Written by Zachary Spero

As my time at Quorum is slowly dwindling, I have taken the time to reflect on my experiences over the past month in a half. These past two months have been highlighted by site visits, lengthy conversations regarding architectural contracts, and continued development of my understanding of the industry norm of producing drawings by digital means.

I have developed a new understanding of the progression of projects through the six design phases (conceptual design, schematic design, design development, construction documents, construction bidding, construction administration). The six design phases involve a tremendous amount of attention to detail as the architect is given many tasks to complete or oversee for each phase.

I have had the opportunity to discuss the basic agreement between owner and architect with one of our firm’s principles in great length at my time at Quorum thus far. This is very important to me because I want to learn what responsibilities the architect has from start to finish of a project. Agreements between an owner and architect often begin with a letter proposal from the architect which sets the scope of the project as well as the fees. From the point at which a project is secured, Quorum has taken the time to explain to me what happens through each step of the design phase. This includes discussing the architects form of agreement which documents the owner/ architect agreement. I have analyzed what language is used to ensure proper responsibility is taken by all parties engaged in design and construction with the guidance of principals helping me understand language used in agreements.

It truly takes a team effort for a project to be completed. Therefore, I have learned what consultant responsibilities include as they help to execute a buildings construction. It is the architect's role to coordinate with all parties involved to ensure design is constructed properly to help clients reach their vision of their project. It has been great to understand the holistic design process, and then actually be able to participate in it at Quorum.

I have experienced conceptual design, schematic design, and design development on several projects as Quorum has involved me in many areas of their service. I have surveyed a number of sites and drafted them according to their built conditions. I have incorporated owner requests into new design of the spaces I have helped survey. I have applied my own ideas to laying out different design schemes. I have helped develop design.

The one thing that I have not done since I have been at Quorum is stop listening. I have learned how to construct my design ideas by means of working with Quorum staff to understand how a building is put together. By exploring plan, section, and elevation in terms of their inherent relationship to each other, I have learned abundant information about building construction- something that I did not have real world experience in. Through the coaching of Quorum Staff, I have learned how a building actually comes to fruition by means of learning construction standards.

By listening to the professionals that surround me, I have a new understanding of the architect’s responsibility to their client by means of contractual obligations and design. This is achieved by proper coaching by the staff at Quorum that doesn't hesitate to answer my questions. I am looking forward to my last month of time at Quorum as I attempt to learn as much as I can from the design professionals that surround me.