December 23, 2013

A California Christmas

This is my favorite evergreen: Our Meyer lemon tree!
To my online family of tweeps, blogging buddies, architects, manufacturers, engineers, representatives, clients, colleagues  all the best wishes for your holidays and 2014!

Photo Credit: Vivian Volz, copyright 2013

September 27, 2013

You might be a specifier!

Wondering if the cows are Division 05 or 12? You might be a specifier.
I'm in a rewarding design career that I love. I'm in demand. At 45, I'm one of the younger members of my specialty. While, in some circles, we have an undeserved rap as a dying breed of old curmudgeons, it just ain't so! This post is written in the hope of helping identify the new, dynamic design professional to join me in this career.

I am here to tell you, there will always be a role for someone with a knack for organizing verbal information in design and construction work. For the sake of simplicity, even though that role has room for evolution, let's refer to this person as a specifier.

August 29, 2013

An Act of Congress and Ceiling Fans

It doesn't take an act of Congress to choose a more efficient ceiling fan.
The kerfuffle in July about House opposition to new ceiling fan standards may have blown over. But when Congress returns from its recess, the Senate's version of the spending bill may offer an opportunity for lobbyists and lawmakers to fan the flames.

August 26, 2013

Zero-VOC: Beyond the Headlines
Did you catch the news back in March that the Federal Trade Commission had settled with PPG and Sherwin Williams over zero-VOC claims for their paints? No? Me neither. This bit of paint gossip didn't surface until I was helping a client check paint submittals for a project for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

June 21, 2013

Off the Schneid Again

Marchand with the Stanley Cup In honor of the NHL Stanley Cup finals, and because it's been a while since I posted, I thought I'd give you an update to my post "Off the Schneid".

At CONSTRUCT [in 2010] I asked a question at a trade show booth that I've been asking for years. I finally got a real answer. Now that the manufacturer is finally "off the schneid", I will consider using the product in future projects.

March 1, 2013

Perot Museum: Mistake or Science Lesson?

I visited the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas with my family this week. Among the fantastic interpretive signage and exciting interactive exhibits, I naturally found time to snap some architecture pics. I thought the smooth, individually sculpted precast panels were masterful, and the prism expressing the escalators whimsical. It was precisely because I was admiring the precast that I started looking at other concrete work and noticed a problem - or was it one more science lesson?

February 23, 2013

Naïve Design

We technical designers make a sport of bemoaning the cluelessness of aesthetic designers. My colleague Louis Medcalf tweeted a common complaint, the type we make when we are frustrated: 
But there are some designers who might fervently disagree, and I've started referring to their approach as naïve design. This post explores the theoretical position of naïve design and offers tips for success. Don't worry: your innocence won't be spoiled if you read on.

February 5, 2013

Anderson Todd

Perhaps I did have an inkling that Anderson Todd was important during my years at Rice.

I spent some time at my dad's house this week scanning pictures, and found this: a 1992 B.Arch. graduation-day photo of Andy and me. There were no other photos of professors. Boyfriend, friends I've lost touch with, parents, buildings, project models... and Andy.

Photo Credit: William Volz, 1992.

January 16, 2013

Talking About the Spec

Talk to your specifier?
Are you communicating with your specifier during construction administration? Are you, perhaps, a little afraid to tell your specifier about something that didn’t get built according to the spec?

I will tell you, that’s exactly the kind of feedback we specifiers most need, in order to serve you better. Don’t be afraid.