Questions of expectations

Since starting at Pentan I’ve mostly been working on a major housing bid we’re submitting to Cardiff council in collaboration with a contractor.  Unusually, even though they haven’t secured the job yet, they’re paying us for the work we’re doing towards the proposals.

My contributions have mainly been as follows:

1. Public realm/public space/landscape masterplanning, primarily for the two largest sites.  This was fun, and rewarding – I was bringing skills I learnt in my first practice to bear, and given that Pentan doesn’t have any architects with significant landscape experience I felt I was making real and valuable contributions.

2. Writing responses to bid questions, essentially outlining how our scheme meets Cardiff’s requirements and aspirations on each of the twelve sites.  Each response is around six pages long, so it’s lengthy work.

3.  Photoshopping site plans and street elevations.  Enjoyable, especially with good radio and helped by having a graphics tablet (easily the most helpful piece of hardware I’ve come across so far and one which should definitely be used more in architecture).

I’ve also been doing

4. Non-Cardiff-bid work: drawing up multiple iterations of a couple of care- or extra-care schemes so that they can be costed by the housing association.  It’s generally agreed in the office that housing associations are less efficient and less professional clients than contractors are, and so these multiple feasibility iterations aren’t unusual.  It’s both a negative in that the schemes take longer to progress and a positive in that we have more time and more scope to ensure that what we deliver is the best possible solution.