The Architect's Bag
What do you keep in your bag?
I follow a blog written by Bob Borson, an American Architect based in Texas who regularly writes about his professional life. Some of the posts are based on local issues that affect Bob, others are his thoughts on the profession globally. He recently posted about the contents of his bag, perhaps it was a slow news day in Bob's office and he had nothing better to do but I found the blog interesting and have decided to do the same.
I have carried an 'over the shoulder' messenger type bag since my father bought me one as a gift, around the turn of the millennium. I was a student then but I still have that same bag, it followed me through university, a year in Australia, graduation, my early career and setting up my own business. It has been through a lot and was showing its age, so I recently replaced it with a more up-to-date model. Aside from wanting something a bit more professional, I also find myself carrying far more stuff than I used to and extra storage space is now essential. So what is in the Architect's bag? 1. A4 Ringbinder Folder. I use this to carry blank xerox sheets onto which I draw sketches and survey measurements. 2. 30 Meter Tape Measure.This is the fabric kind, rather than the metal strip. I use this to get detailed measurements of properties prior to drafting them in CAD. 3. A Ball of String.Useful stuff string, I can make an impromptu plumb-line, check that a wall is level and that freestanding elements are in line. 4. Laser Disto.My Leica D2 was a gift from my father-in-law, who is an engineer. This is a very accurate laser and super useful when measuring inaccessible spaces. It also gets more oohs and ahhs from clients than any other bit of kit I own. 5. Laptop.Nothing special, just enough to run CAD, email and office software when I am working in my satellite office in Edinburgh. It runs windows 8, which I am less than impressed with. 6. Black n' Red Notebook. I have been a devotee of Black n' Red since my first job after graduating. I record details of every meeting, phone call, conversation and important decision in here. This is the sixth one since I started Capital A, the other five are stored safely in the event I need to check something that was discussed long in the past. This has happened only a few times but it has helped settled every dispute in my favour. 7. iPad.This is my iPad 2, which I am very happy with. I use this to show clients photos of previous work, check the Building Regulations while on site, check email and social media on the move and read architecture and design articles. My favourite bit of tech. 8. Wireless Mouse.Item No. 5 is useless without it as I cant operate CAD unless the mouse has a roller ball. 9. Pens.I carry a selection, from the bottom up;0.5mm Pentel clutch pencil.0.5mm Hi-Techpoint black pen0.7mm Hi-Techpoint black penBlack Uni-ball pen.Stabilo medium felt pen - black0.5mm Hi-Techpoint red pen 10. HighlightersSo useful for checking and proofreading documents, I usually carry several colours. 11. SharpieWhen you really want to make a point of something, nothing says it better than a large permanent marker. 12. Scale Ruler.I prefer the triangular type made by Blundell Harding. The triangular cross section allows more scales to fit on one ruler, truly a design classic in its own right. 13. Flash Light.This one is a bicycle light, its powerful and not very heavy. Useful for inspecting dark corners and checking how level a wall or ceiling is. Tip: hold the light tight to the wall or ceiling and shine it across the surface, if it casts shadows, the surface isn't level. 14. Jambox by Jawbone.This wireless speaker was a gift from my wife, it connects via bluetooth to the iPad or iPhone and the sound is phenomenal. That is everything you need to be an Architect in todays world. Well, that and a solid work ethic, approachable personality, technical knowledge, the patience of a saint, commercial nous, a sense of style, good negotiation skills and noting better to do.