The Intern: Part VI

Tuesday, 26th November 2013

David Weir Architects

Mosman Park, Western Australia, Australia

Imagine - if you have the energy - you’re on a steam train that has no brakes, screaming through the proverbial cluster of time-restricted events, in a world where there’s no such thing as ‘later’. You check your timetable to see when you’re arriving at your destination called Deadline, but it simply reads “Yesterday”. You wonder if this is at all possible – or, perhaps, you could have just stepped through to…The Architecture Studio.

…introduction complete. Welcome to another wacky hour-of-power featuring this guy, who has decided to title an internet site with his actual legal and birth-given name. Who is this guy, and where can I buy a simple external portable work light from? All these questions answered – and more – in THE INTERN: PART VI.

Today in the office of David Weir Architects was relatively zany. Hopefully my writing style can reflect this. We kicked things off with a drive around to retail outlets to run a few errands: purchased some small goods, refunded a few items, ruffled some feathers in a store, and we bought umbrellas. Fun fact: Exposure to the sun is incredibly dangerous, and especially ten-fold when you add a reflective roof surface with no shade options. In a payback scene from The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly, Tuco Ramirez (The Ugly, or Eli Wallach, for those playing at home) forces Blondie (The Good, as portrayed by Clint Eastwood) to trudge for miles through the desert landscape without water or his trademark Akubra-style brimmed hat. He eventually collapses and nearly dies, if it was not for a conveniently-timed plot sequence that turned his luck for the better. Unfortunately, I do not foresee such events arising in the midday sun at Dave’s Cans, especially the horse-drawn cart appearing with the call of the heavens. Black and turquoise coloured umbrellas will have to suffice.

Numbers ahoy.

Now, when I wrote down Accounting as one of my Year 11 subjects in the winter of 2008, I never thought that I would be an intern in an architectural firm. But as luck would have it, there were accounts that needed to be settled, and I was the man for the job. Setting up the excel spreadsheet and loading up with the Debits and Credits columns, I whizzed through the invoices and receipts, and gave David a financial outlook on a project. We then proceeded to throw countless stacks of money in the air and played Mexican fiesta tunes for a good five minutes.

I know what you’re thinking: “Cale, rooftop air currents and umbrellas don’t exactly make a good combination!” Never fear, fellow reader! We’ve thought of that problem. We laughed in the face of the extravagant prices asked for a simple concrete block and steel tube at the local outdoor store and decided to go the architectural route for umbrella bases. A glance at the Midalia Steel website gave us a general idea of the standard steel tube available, and drawings were conceived on David’s very own desk of a base design to be sent to “the guy who does those things”. There’s a technicality for his line of work, but to be honest, I don’t remember anything – too distraught from the aforementioned Mexican cash-throwing fiesta.

We don't buy pre-made bases. We make them. Consider architects the Italian Pizzerias of the design world. Then add cheese.

For lunch, I devoured a ham and cheese danish, a herb-crusted Turkish bread roll, and a finger bun with pink strawberry-flavoured icing. Courtesy of Baker’s Delight. For that shameless plug, they’ve paid me a good sum of money.

When I make a promise, I hold my word to it. For example, at the beginning of this entry, you may recall me uttering the words “All these questions answered – and more…” – I’ll answer one of those questions here right now. The other answer can be found elsewhere. According to our local research, it’s indubitably impossible to purchase a simple work light. Sure, places like Bunnings and Super Cheap Auto may sell the flimsy plastic, multi-coloured horrific beasts, but they’re not fit for Dave’s Cans; only the best is accepted. A search around on Google to figure out what the proper designation was decided by someone from society in the past to give them (My guess of “hanging light things that mechanics use” was not good enough), and a basic, metallic form was discovered. And they’re located in Australia? We don’t have time to waste, waiting for international delivery services. I’ve seen Cast Away. I’m not waiting four years for a parcel because someone wanted to try out a real life version of Survivor or Man Vs Wild. Problem was, they didn’t include the light bulb housing or cables. No big deal, right?

Looks good, but makes no sense.

Unfortunately, I have the most splendid ability to dive right in and not even think for a slight moment. As the above photo suggests, I spent a good amount of time (I’m too proud to admit how many minutes or hours) researching light bulb bases and cabling, and where to buy them, and how much they cost - and what the hell is a SL-2654/6 light bulb? If I even thought for a moment about my website, and my weekly entries, and realised that I took a photo of a lighting installation a few weeks ago that illustrated perfectly what I needed, then I wouldn’t have embarrassed myself by asking Lauren for help and looking up to see that David’s office is adorned with two prime examples for what I was after. Not a good moment for Cale Black.

Don’t worry, I redeemed myself. Dave’s Cans needs water! And this isn’t a case of clapping your hands to get it, either. Installing a water system onto a rooftop is extremely expensive – guess a huge number. Now double that. Add three. You’re probably not even close. Portable potable water is the solution! Made a phone call to a local company and a quote will be delivered tomorrow. I should have extensive knowledge of portable water companies in the state of Western Australia, spending countless trips with my grandfather delivering water to mine sites around the goldfields. There’s limited space available in this brain to remember things. Luckily, the good people at Microsoft (another shameless plug = more dollars) and their creation, the Surface, helped us out.

Windows 8™ - Arriving in your sketchbook, Q3 2014.

So, that was basically today. As I mentioned before, it was a somewhat zany experience. Well, not really. I just decided to make it seem zany. Stop using the word ‘zany’. Six weeks in, and I am absolutely loving every minute in the architecture office. I look forward to it when I wake up in the morning, and I don’t want to leave once I’m there for the day. The deadline for Dave’s Cans is fast approaching, and next week will most likely be an all-day spectacular on the rooftop. If you haven’t seen it yet, the opening party is on the 8th of December, so if you’re in the area, come on down and have a good time. Just don’t mention my name. I sat in David’s chair before I left today and pretended to be a fully qualified and accredited, in all senses of the definition in the Architects Act 2004, “Architect”.

The first image of myself since I started in the office. That's not my chair.

I have a very, very, long journey ahead of me.


- c.