Monday, August 17, 2009

The Practice of Architecture as Benedictine Monasticism

This afternoon I picked up a phone message from the client for the little drawing I did, per the last post. The fabricators, he says, want to know the deflection and the loading for the new beam that's going in.

Fine, I tell him, I can work that out.

What I didn't mention was, hey, um, this wasn't in the original scope of work. The fabricators were supposed to take care of that themselves, given the info supplied. I finished the drawing I was asked to do, and he's paid me for it. Which is good. But the invoice I handed him last week was already discounted to reflect what he was willing to pay.

So now do I tell my EP that doing these calcs will be extra?

Golly Moses, no. I'm going to revert to the style of my past employers going back to the '70s and '80s and eat the fee to retain the good will.

I have to wonder, had they not beaten it into our heads in architecture school that we'd better not be in it to enrich ourselves and that becoming an architect was equivalent to taking a vow of poverty, chastity,* and obedience; if my early architectural practice role models had had harder heads for business; if I didn't have a neurotic attitude towards money such that I believed and accepted this bs, I'd be a Rich and Successful Architect by now. But back then, Architecture wasn't about making money, it was about Serving the Public and/or Doing Beautiful Design. Good grief, we practically paid the clients for giving us the privilege!

And now the concrete has hardened in the form and it's too bloody late for me to change.
*Well, sorta, but mainly because we'd be too busy cranking out drawings to indulge in any such frivolity.

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