When I was “gopher” in an architect’s office, there were only 2 fax machines in town, and we didn’t own one. When a document needed to be across town, there was a process:
• Someone wrote the letter
• Secretary typed it on a [gasp] typewriter
• Author reviewed it to make sure it was correct and signed it
• I made copies for the file
• I took a company car (yes! they had cool cars just like architect’s are supposed to; I was only 17 years old) and hand delivered the letter
This process likely took 1-3 hours depending on the letter and where the company was located. Ya know what? Very rarely were there mistakes in the documents that office handed out.
These days, I am appalled at the poor quality and incomplete work I see. It seems as though everyone wants things “NOW NOW NOW” and pays less and less attention to the details of getting it right. After all, it is very easy to just print a partial PDF file of a floor plan and send it along for comment; the hard part is how to make fast things good and good things fast. Sometimes they are mutually exclusive.
I’m still puzzling over whether architecture is better now or then. More later.
- Lisa Stacholy, AIA