The Intern: Part V

Tuesday, 19th November 2013

David Weir Architects

Mosman Park, Western Australia, Australia

HIGH NOON AT DAVE'S CANS. featuring Eucalyptus (...something).

Today, architecture happened. Boom bam slam. The day started off with a visit to various shops and institutions, involving some activities that may or may not be related to Dave's Cans. Not really secretive: it definitely was related. Projects that are close to the finish line need to move, have momentum and gather some boiler pressure to make the push up the final hill; this morning involved shovelling coal into the proverbial firebox. By the way, Dave's Cans is having an opening party on the 8th of December. Get down there and support an awesome project by having a few brewskis under the Fremantle night sky.

This morning also involved a visit to a project that I cannot really talk about - there's non-disclosure agreements all over the place, and the less said the better. Nonetheless, I can vaguely describe how it felt to stand within this project with as little detail as possible. The finishes were lovely, with some surprising features in the back half of the project. Probably the best way to describe the upper half would be "thoughtful and gentle malice". From what I encountered, it was really pleasing. I'm going to leave it at that. I will update on the happenings of this project when the time is right. Hopefully, not too far away. It will be worth the wait.

Enough of keeping quiet - there's architecture to be done, and I wasn't lying with my opening sentence! Everybody jumped into the Bettymobile (My car, dubbed so due to the sound it made when that black beast broke down: bam-a-lam), and we made our way down to MYRE to do some maintenance work at Dave's Cans. Plants need water. Betty also got an impromptu hose down, as she was deemed to dirty to represent David Weir Architects. Saves me having to wash her this week.

"Bottles 'n' Cans, just clap your hands!" - Promotional posters for Dave's Cans; look out for them, they'll be everywhere soon!

Things are looking really well on the rooftop. Trees are in place, paint is down, pallets are up and the stage is taking shape. It's full steam ahead for the 8th of December.

Did you actually think that the architecture stopped there? Dream on, fellow reader! For those unfamiliar with architecture or drafting, there are many components of a drawing set: yes, there are elevations, sections and plans. There's also details, electrical and lighting placements, and schedules. No, not schedules like "What time do I need to get on Bus XYZ if I'm transferring from Train JKL and leaving my house from Bike FGH or possibly taking Walking Route RST". A door and window schedule example is set out like below.

Ignore the lack of English. [Source]

Put simply: if you don't specify how you want a door to be constructed, which material to use, or don't do enough detail, the builder will simply do whatever is necessary to get the job done. Usually, sans the architectural style that the client has hired in the first place to implement. Whoops. Therefore, a schedule is to be created. They are detailed drawings of doors, windows and whatever else that needs to be specified. They differ from a specification, of which includes detailed notes such as finishes. Floor plans involving a door or window refer to a schedule. For example, the front door may have the width of 900mm, with reference to Schedule "D-01". Another example would be for a window, with a reference to Schedule "W-04". If a window or a door is the exact same, they are not referred to all as, for instance, "ID-03" or "W-07" - they all have their own sequential number, and in the schedules for doors, "ID-01", "ID-02" and "ID-03" would be grouped together underneath the same drawing for that specific door design. Items such as cabinetwork require more details, and as such are labelled "Specifications". They cover the finer words, such as allowances for shelf recesses or required holes for movement of shelves. Also, the phrase "If on-hand product differs to specification drawing, consult Architect prior to commencement of manufacture." - very important to highlight, bold, underline, increase the size of the font, circle, or whatever you have to do to make that particular point extremely clear. Maybe all of them.

Electrical plans work around the principle of the functional needs of the work, but also the practical needs. Ideally, using a multiple-socket General Power Outlet (GPOs) board for expensive computer equipment is not recommended. On the other hand, having six to eight individual GPOs for this particular purpose borders on the extremes of polar-opposite necessity and You're-Outta-Your-Damn-Mind. It can be a balancing act of where to place GPOs, and how many are required. Using a single-socket GPO on the rear of a wall recess in a kitchen for a fridge makes complete sense: you're not trying to entice the inhabitant to run another appliance from a GPO that is behind a huge double-bi-fold-instant-cool-stainless-steel refrigeration unit. It serves one purpose, and that purpose is being considered in the design. For considerations of audio-visual equipment, placing only one GPO in a home theatre room is too impractical and unsafe. Add in the elements of practicability for such things such as lamps and vacuum cleaners, not to mention the consideration of major circulation routes, and it requires a little more than "putting GPOs everywhere!". Think like someone who has devoted their career to space design - like an architect - and place them not only where you think the client will want them, but to also place them where you want the client to use them. Logical sense prevails.

BEWARE THE MONSTER OF MARK-UPS. Thick red sharpie pens denote fixes required. This photo does not encompass those electrical plans; there were more mark-ups on that one. Many, many more.

Needless to say, my annotated plans were reworked extensively after giving me a free reign of the plans to place GPOs and lighting installations. There are other practical factors such as client requests or budget constraints, and there are design factors such as aesthetics and luminous flux ratings. It gave me a good lesson how to design with the aforementioned factors in mind, and the final annotated plans will be used for discussion with the clients in relation to final design changes before tender and building permits. It feels like I've had a more-than-little contribution to a project. And it was only a small component. I'll be sure to ride this wave of humbleness all the way.


Next week, we tan the Cans, sans plans.

If that makes sense.



- c.