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If architects had to work like computer systems designers
The following letter shows the kinds of problems that architects
would face if they had to work like computer systems designers.
Dear Mr. Architect:
Please design and build me a house. I am not quite sure of what I
need, so you should use your own discretion.
My house should have between two and forty-five bedrooms. Just make
sure the plans are such that the bedrooms can be easily added or
deleted. When you bring the blueprints to me, I will make the final
decision of what I want. Also, bring me the cost breakdowns for each
configuration so that I can arbitrarily pick one at a later time.
Keep in mind that the house I ultimately choose must cost less than
the one I am currently living in. Make sure, however, that you
correct all of the deficiencies that exist in my current house (the
floor of my kitchen vibrates when I walk across it, and the walls
don't have nearly enough insulation in them).
As you design, also keep in mind that I want to keep yearly
maintenance costs as low as possible. This should mean the
incorporation of extra-cost features like aluminum, vinyl, or
composite siding. (If you choose not to specify aluminum, be prepared
to explain your decision in detail. )
Please take care that modern design practices and the latest materials
are to be used in construction of the house, as I want it to be a
showplace for the most up-to-date ideas and methods. Be alerted,
however, that the kitchen should be designed to accommodate (among
other things) my 1952 Gibson refrigerator.
To assure that you are building the correct house for our entire
family, you will need to contact each of my children, and also our in-
laws. My mother-in-law will have very strong feelings about how the
house should be designed, since she visits us a least once a year.
Make sure that you weigh all of these options carefully and come to
the right decision. I, however, retain the right to overrule any
decisions that you make.
Please don't bother me with small details right now. Your job is to
develop the overall plans for the house and get the big picture. At
this time, for example, it is not appropriate to be choosing the color
of the carpeting. However, keep in mind that my wife likes blue.
Also, do not worry at this time about acquiring the resources to build
the house itself. Your first priority is to develop detailed plans
and specifications. Once I approve these plans, however, I would
expect the house to be under roof within 48 hours.
While you are designing this house specifically for me, keep in mind
that sooner or later I will have to sell it to someone else. It
therefore should have appeal to a wide variety of potential buyers.
Please make sure before you finalize the plans that there is a
consensus of the potential homebuyers in my area that they like the
features this house has.
I advise you to run up and look at the house my neighbor built last
year, as we like it a great deal. It has many things that we feel we
also need in our new home, particularly the 75-foot swimming pool.
With careful engineering, I believe that you can design this into our
new house without impacting the construction cost.
Please prepare a complete set of blueprints. It is not necessary at
this time to do the real design, since they will be used only for
construction bids. Be advised, however, that you will be held
accountable for any increase of construction costs as a result of
later design changes.
You must be thrilled to be working on as interesting project as this!
To be able to use the latest techniques and materials and to be given
such freedom in your designs is something that can't happen very
often. Contact me as soon as possible with your
ideas and completed plans.
PS: My wife has just told me that she disagrees with many of the
instructions I've given you in this letter. As an architect, it is your
responsibility to resolve these differences. I have tried in the past
and have been unable to accomplish this. If you can't handle this
responsibility, I will have to find another architect.
PPS: Perhaps what I need is not a house at all, but a travel trailer.
Please advise me as soon as possible if this is the case.