Super Tool

This month's ArchiTalk topic is "tools." Be sure to read some of the other posts by others at the end of my own.

I will admit upfront that I was a little too occupied with something else that starts with "Super" over the weekend. No, my team was not in the big dance, but it was held just over 10 miles away from our house. Enough excuses, I wanted to focus this month's ArchiTalk on Super Tools we have – our hands. 

When the topic of this month's ArchiTalk came up several weeks ago, it got me thinking... When I was in architecture school, one of my design studios had a project where we each were assigned a construction tool (something relatively small) and I was given the chalkline. 

This, is a typical chalk line snapper. Shake up the box with chalk, pull out the string, snap a line, reel 'er back in. 

This, is a typical chalk line snapper. Shake up the box with chalk, pull out the string, snap a line, reel 'er back in. 

I don't think this is one of the first tools people think about when you think construction. It's really just a piece of string with some chalk on it. You don't construct anything with the chalkline itself, but it's a super important tool for construction to happen properly. Snapping the chalky string once pulled taught, creates a straight construction line for workers to abide by. Of the many uses of a chalkline, one immediate memory from our Contemporary Cottage project was when it was used to show the saw-cut lines for our concrete floor's control joints. 

These were the chalk lines on our concrete floor before they saw cut the control joints. 

These were the chalk lines on our concrete floor before they saw cut the control joints. 

Another thought I had when thinking about 'tools' were the tools I use on a daily basis as an architecture professional. When talking with other architects, one of the questions we ask one another is, "hey, what software are you guys using?" I've gotten into a comfortable niche working with SketchUp and LayOut but I know I'm usually the odd man out. In this area, smaller firms tend to use VectorWorks, some people are still using AutoCAD, and larger firms are using Revit. Big generalization here, I know. Very seldom do I come across someone that's using Chief Architect – just as seldom as I see people using SketchUp and LayOut the way I have been using them. A big influence in my SketchUp & LayOut workflow has been Nick Sonder. You can check him out here: 

So what do chalkiness, drafting and drafting software have to do with one another? Well, they're all tools that we use with our hands. This got me thinking about the even larger picture. How damn cool is it that we get to participate in this thing called architecture and construction using our hands as the main tool?! I mean, I draw lines on paper with my hands whether by pen, pencil, or computer software (so actually, I draw on the computer, and that gets spit out on paper) and then people use their hands to put up the actual construction! From thoughts in someone's head, to an actual structure, by means of many peoples' hands as tools. I think that's super. Hands, they're a Super Tool. 

Below is a blog roll of other posts related to this month's topic of "tools" we use as architecture professionals:

Bob Borson - Life of An Architect (@bobborson)

Marica McKeel - Studio MM (@ArchitectMM)
3 Tools to Get Our Clients Engaged and Involved

Jeff Echols - Architect Of The Internet (@Jeff_Echols)
The Best Tool In Your Toolbox

Lee Calisti, AIA - Think Architect (@LeeCalisti)

Lora Teagarden - L² Design, LLC (@L2DesignLLC)
The Tools That Help Make #AREsketches

Jeremiah Russell, AIA - ROGUE Architecture (@rogue_architect)
tools #architalks

Jes Stafford - MODwelling (@modarchitect)
One Essential Tool

Eric T. Faulkner - Rock Talk (@wishingrockhome)
Architools - Mind Over Matter

Rosa Sheng - Equity by Design (@EquityxDesign)
10 Power Tools to Kickstart Equitable Practice

Michele Grace Hottel - Michele Grace Hottel, Architect (@mghottel)
#ArchiTalks 17 "Tool"

Meghana Joshi - IRA Consultants, LLC (@MeghanaIRA)
Tools of an Architect #Architalks 17

Amy Kalar - ArchiMom (@AmyKalar)
ArchiTalks #17: Three Tools for Change

Brian Paletz - The Emerging Architect (@bpaletz)
Can we talk?

Michael LaValley - Evolving Architect (@archivalley)
Why An Architect's Voice Is Their Most Important Tool

Eric Wittman - intern[life] (@rico_w)
it's ok, i have a [pen]

Brinn Miracle - Architangent (@simplybrinn)
Synergy: The Value of Architects

Emily Grandstaff-Rice - Emily Grandstaff-Rice FAIA (@egrfaia)
Tools for Learning

Jarod Hall - di'velept (@divelept)
Something Old and Something New

Greg Croft - Sage Leaf Group (@croft_gregory)

Jeffrey A Pelletier - Board & Vellum (@boardandvellum)
Helpful tools found within an Architecture blog

Aaron Bowman - Product & Process (@PP_Podcast)
Sharpen Your Tools

Kyu Young Kim - Palo Alto Design Studio (@sokokyu)
Super Tool

Jared W. Smith - Architect OWL (@ArchitectOWL)
Construction: An Architect's Learning Tool

Keith Palma - Architect's Trace (@cogitatedesign)
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