Giving Birth

There are certain things that men will never experience, such as bringing new life into this world. As architects we occasionally have an experience that I believe might be analogous: handing the final set of Construction Documents over to our clients. Similar to pregnancy, concept to 99% CDs has been an intimate partnership between you and your client. Eventually though, every project must bear the weight of one individual. Despite the team effort, liability must ultimately trace back to a single source, in this case the architect. And finally you hand your little bundle off to others and watch it grow.

Our firm recently had the pleasure of working on a small, but design intense project. True to form, it was a very collaborative effort. We worked as friends with our clients to conceive the best possible solution given the confines of program, budget and site. We utilized a number of consultants, including general contractors at various stages. All our regular checkups were in perfect order. Together we designed a modest yet refined space in which my friends can live and continue their success as professional photographers.

But given contractual language and industry practice the collaboration can only be taken so far. At some point there is always a singular entity pushing forth this new creation. Our stamp as project architect was to be affixed to the entire set, and our firm would carry certain responsibilities for the “up-bringing” of this little guy. So for those few short days between final client meeting and final hand-off, we as a firm huddled in our confines and pushed out the best, most tightly coordinated set of CDs within our ability.

And then we handed it off, watching it fly forth- over the internet and in .pdf format- ready to make its impact on the world.

With this experience comes a certain mix of feelings: pride, anxiety…exhaustion. Your mind can start to race with the future uncertainties of permitting, construction and occupation. Like a new parent watching your child grow, hoping for greatness, knowing you have done your best to prepare them. Letting go of your little one you can’t help but lament a certain sense of loss. Perhaps a loss of control you once had, or the end of an enjoyable experience, but certainly offset by a new sense of pride and excitement for the future. With this new experience and new perspective you begin to imagine the next creative endeavor.

This recent project was of important note for me in that it is the first project from our firm that bears my stamp and signature as a licensed architect. I have truly welcomed my baby into this world.

So now we are off in search of new opportunities for creation, for new projects in which to birth new ideas. We look for new ways to lose sleep and increase our levels of anxiety, but ultimately we seek new ways to become inspired and new ways to greet new creative life. The analogy to birth may fall short in certain respects (drafting until 3am is I’m sure slightly less painful) but the feeling of creating something new is certainly both visceral and real.

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