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View Full Version : An architect, a modeler, and work-related conflict.



thethinker42
06-09-2010, 08:41 AM
This may be better suited for The Sandbox, and I've debated which forum to use...mods, feel free to move it if you think it's better over there.

Okay, so...my characters work in an architectural firm. He is a modeler (actually builds physical models, not just 3D images or computer generated models). She is the architect, his boss, and rules with a bit of an iron fist.

On two or three occasions throughout the story, she's going to get on his case for work-related things, so I'm brainstorming things she could bitch at him about. And, hell, thought I'd throw it out here in case anyone has any thoughts. :D Obviously things like deadlines, but beyond that, I'm not 100% familiar with the field, so...

For those familiar with architectural firms and such, what kinds of things would cause friction between an architect and a modeler (or a drafter...there are drafters involved in this too)? Anything from minor to major, petty to catastrophic. HELP ME OUT, YO.

MissMacchiato
06-09-2010, 09:45 AM
Right.
I think the most obvious ones would be issues with the scale of the models, or rooms or sections missing, shoddy workmanship... those are the first ones that come to mind -

scale is a big one. If the bedroom is supposed to have a walk-in, and be 4 foot by 4 foot, and he's made it 3 by 5, with no walk in, then you can see why she'd be grumpy.

Bing Z
06-09-2010, 10:17 AM
I know nothing about that particular job. However, I've come across a situation that will always cause tensions.

Say subordinate (modeler) is a perfectionist. He naturally will not make a "3 by 5" mistake. However, because producing perfect models takes time, this guy may not be able to handle a "rush job" that the chick boss wants for tomorrow's management meeting.

Boss (gives revised blueprint to modeler): Can you refit three bedrooms into that model before tomorrow morning's management meeting?
Dude: Hmm. Three bedrooms. That's like from scratch. That's one more room of miniature cherry furniture. Hmm. I'm not entirely sure, but I'll stay up all night trying.
Boss: You don't try. You make it happen. It doesn't have to be perfect. It's just for the meeting. They know it's prelim. They know it may be scratchy.
Dude: It has to be perfect. Everything I do is perfect. That's why you hired me.

MissMacchiato
06-09-2010, 10:24 AM
or, like bingain says, she asks him to do a rush job, he does it, and then she bitches about the fact it's not perfect, even though she's asked him to do it on an unreasonable schedule :)

(I like the tight schedule idea, what can I say?)

thethinker42
06-09-2010, 11:09 AM
Ooh, good ideas. She does bust his balls about deadlines, and is really prone to giving him unreasonable time frames, so that could work...

Thanks :D

Linda Adams
06-09-2010, 02:45 PM
You might also do some research in business books about dealing with the boss. Sometimes the things bosses do have nothing to do with the person actually doing something wrong. For example, I had a boss who would light into people for the tiniest mistake (or perceived mistake) because she was disturbed by something not related--yet, the same thing on another day she wouldn't even notice.

She could have a meeting where everyone is supposed to come prepared--and he doesn't. Doesn't have an answer to an important question.

Or she gets blindsided by something that she didn't know, but her employees did and just didn't tell her.

alleycat
06-09-2010, 03:28 PM
I work in the architectural and engineering field (and have for years). I'm not sure whether you've gotten what you need or not; if you need any additional information just let me know.

Smiling Ted
06-09-2010, 09:44 PM
She could insist that he follow company rules that have nothing to do with his job - for instance, demanding he be in the office precisely at nine - even though he's still waiting for her to make up her mind about an issue so he can start work.

sunandshadow
06-09-2010, 11:14 PM
If you want something humorous, an architect usually does not specify colors, while a modeler must pick colors for materials, and she may hate his taste in color schemes. Like me, I hate target's color-scheme, (navy, tan, radioactive green, orange, etc.) it always makes me think someone color-blind designed it. But my sister likes those colors and will wear radioactive green clothes. On the other hand, I like high-intensity vivid colors: black and white, neons, jewel tones, metallics and sparkles. My designs tend to get negative reactions from people who prefer low-contrast natural color schemes like brown, yellow-brown, yellow-green, and cream; their preferences on the other hand seem utterly boring to me.

From more of a business angle, they may have a partnership with a furnishings company that specializes in an antique look, so they ought to promote this partner company by using antique-looking furnishings in models, but the modeler hates that style and keeps using ultra-modern looking furnishings instead.

Kalyke
06-10-2010, 04:41 AM
Stinky glue all over everything. Slovenly piles of notes and blueprints. Using her scissors to cut his crap. I'm a moldmaker/sculptor/prototyper and know that every flat surface in the place can become overwhelmed with junk when a big project is in full swing. You need a large studio space to do the work. Fed Ex packages coming at all hours is good too.

alleycat
06-10-2010, 04:44 AM
Slovenly piles of notes and blueprints.
You just described my office . . .


Except nobody uses blueprints anymore (they're called plots, or prints, or sets).

firedrake
06-10-2010, 04:48 AM
You just described my office . . .


Except nobody uses blueprints anymore (they're called plots, or prints, or sets).

yea, that was my office too, until last week!

Sarpedon
06-10-2010, 04:49 AM
From my experience:

She doesn't have enough time to tell him what she wants, and when he does what he thinks is right, she rags on him for not doing it the way she would.

The client moves the bid date forward again.

The architect's assistant misses the date to submit a proposal, and she takes it out on everyone around her.

Her favorite golfer has a series of affairs, and she gets jealous.

thethinker42
06-10-2010, 05:02 AM
Great ideas, all. :D You guys rock.

firedrake
06-10-2010, 05:05 AM
Then there's the Client from Hell.

Sees the model and decides that room A is entirely too small and she would rather see the living room in an L-shape around a demi-courtyard rather than a full courtyard house.

Change model.

Client from Hell...well, actually, perhaps the full courtyard was better after all.

From my recollection when working for architects, many clients were high-maintenance pains in the arse.

thethinker42
06-10-2010, 05:08 AM
Then there's the Client from Hell.

Sees the model and decides that room A is entirely too small and she would rather see the living room in an L-shape around a demi-courtyard rather than a full courtyard house.

Change model.

Client from Hell...well, actually, perhaps the full courtyard was better after all.

From my recollection when working for architects, many clients were high-maintenance pains in the arse.

Clients from hell...now THERE is something I have experience with. Client bitches the boss out, boss comes down hard on the modeler even though it wasn't his fault. *strokes chinbeard* Why yes, I think that could work...that takes care of one argument. :D Thanks!

firedrake
06-10-2010, 05:09 AM
Clients from hell...now THERE is something I have experience with. Client bitches the boss out, boss comes down hard on the modeler even though it wasn't his fault. *strokes chinbeard* Why yes, I think that could work...that takes care of one argument. :D Thanks!

Thus demonstrating that well-known principle that shit lands at the lowest level.

thethinker42
06-10-2010, 05:11 AM
Thus demonstrating that well-known principle that shit lands at the lowest level.

Oh, does it ever. And when you factor in the "other" facet of the relationship between the architect and the modeler...well... ;)

thethinker42
06-10-2010, 05:13 AM
Another question...how long does it typically take to build one of these things? Obviously it's going to vary based on complexity, but...in general. Is this a "do it in 3 days" kind of thing, or is, say, 2-3 weeks more reasonable?

Kalyke
06-10-2010, 05:34 AM
Campaign is the right word. Once you get a contract, you are at war. Prepare to camp on a cot in the studio and work 24/7 or thereabouts.

Since I am not an architecture model maker, I don't know the answer specifically, but I'm guessing a week or so. A lot of times, you don't actually start it until the absolute last minute because you are working on other stuff. In other words, I'll have it done in a month means you will start it 2 days before the end of the month.

LoopyLinde
06-10-2010, 05:56 AM
I'm not an expert, since I never actually became an architect, (so keep that in mind), but from what I understand a complex model for an expensive project can be time-consuming to assemble, and also very expensive. For a project with a lot of money involved, the model must be perfect. It's not something you throw together.

I remember a scandal in a neighboring city where developers requested a zoning variance and used the price of the model, which they had already had made and paid for, as a reason for the city to grant the variance!

Otherwise, as far as your conflict goes, if the model-maker thinks of himself as an artist or a designer, he might object to something in the plans and be inclined to argue for his point of view.

firedrake
06-10-2010, 05:59 AM
I'm not an expert, since I never actually became an architect, (so keep that in mind), but from what I understand a complex model for an expensive project can be time-consuming to assemble, and also very expensive. For a project with a lot of money involved, the model must be perfect. It's not something you throw together.

I remember a scandal in a neighboring city where developers requested a zoning variance and used the price of the model, which they had already had made and paid for, as a reason for the city to grant the variance!

Otherwise, as far as your conflict goes, if the model-maker thinks of himself as an artist or a designer, he might object to something in the plans and be inclined to argue for his point of view.

I hope it got laughed out of the Council Chamber! That doesn't even meet the criteria for a variance :crazy:

LoopyLinde
06-10-2010, 06:51 AM
Where developers own the City Council. Ask about Paul Allen's Toy Train.

I can't remember whether it actually went through, but it wouldn't shock me to find out they came up with a slightly more reasonable excuse and granted the variance anyway. Quietly.

thethinker42
06-10-2010, 06:52 AM
Doesn't surprise me in the least that it happened in Seattle...(I grew up there...nothing surprises me anymore).

firedrake
06-10-2010, 06:56 AM
Where developers own the City Council. Ask about Paul Allen's Toy Train.

I can't remember whether it actually went through, but it wouldn't shock me to find out they came up with a slightly more reasonable excuse and granted the variance anyway. Quietly.

Having just found out the hard way how City Governments work, I wouldn't be in the least bit surprised.

LoopyLinde
06-10-2010, 07:05 AM
But developers get away with murder. Including having registered landmarks torn down to make room for a grocery store.

It likes to think of itself as a "World-Class City". Or at least the Chamber of Commerce used those words a lot until the recession.

Sorry for the derail of the thread. I can talk about Seattle and its problems for hours. (I'll be quiet now).

cbenoi1
06-10-2010, 07:10 AM
> He is a modeler (actually builds physical models, not just 3D images
> or computer generated models). She is the architect, his boss, and
> rules with a bit of an iron fist.

Ironically, my father built the scaled model for the Montreal 1976 Olympic stadium and I helped him glue the pieces together when I was a kid. I went on the spend some 25-odd years in 3D computer graphics later in my career, one project being the 3D computer model for the Trudeau Airport control tower which competed with another firm's scale model.

One thing that never changed in that quarter-century is the relationship between engineers and architects - they don't like each other, to put it mildly. The architect would design something, the engineer would modify it because the elevator shafts don't meet local code and standards, or whatever, and toss the plans back. By that time, the client would have seen the plans or 3D computer model, got the architect to agree to more changes. The net result being that you're always off by one revision and whoever isn't up to the latest version gets the blame. Always.

==> I can easily imagine your scale model builder being the in-between guy between those two and being off by two or more revisions. It's the kind of environment where it's easy to miss a detail that has an impact on looks, and therefore with the final customer.


> Obviously things like deadlines

Deadlines - milestones, in fact - are malleable on large projects. There are always uncertainties when you create a new structure that never existed before and the bigger the project, the bigger the uncertainties. That's factored into the schedule. If there are any hard deadlines in a project, they are externally forced. Like the project must be completed before Winter. Or before some local election or municipal meeting.

==> So if your story involves a deadline, I'd suggest to make them external factors. Politics works extremely well in screwing up schedules. Trust me...


Hope this helps.

-cb

Nivarion
06-11-2010, 10:11 AM
Sometimes the things bosses do have nothing to do with the person actually doing something wrong. For example, I had a boss who would light into people for the tiniest mistake (or perceived mistake) because she was disturbed by something not related--yet, the same thing on another day she wouldn't even notice.

Boy I can attest to this. My current/last/Idon'tknow boss has me on leave until further notice because of something SOMEONE ELSE did while i wasn't even on the clock.

:Huh:

Well, I've been the scape goat and been lectured for so much I've not done at that job already. I don't need him, I've got a great resume and I'll have a new job in no time.