I debated on what to write about today, finally deciding on sharing my workspace with you all. First off, it’s lunchtime (my usual blog writing time), so I’ve got my Kashi Spicy Black Bean Enchilada ready and waiting for me to eat. (I’ve already scarfed it down and have moved onto the apple.)
Since right around the holidays, I’ve been working on and off on a project that I refer to as The Suburban Hell Project. Well, I haven’t actually called the project out loud to anyone here at work, but that’s what I call to myself. If you couldn’t tell, I’m not so fond of the project!
(Again, sorry for the poor picture quality. I’m limited to the camera on my phone.) I have two monitors so I can spread my work out and easily move between programs. Working at an architecture firm, I pretty much only use AutoCAD (open on the left monitor), Adobe Photoshop (open on the right monitor), and Adobe InDesign, along with a few other programs used here and there.
I get a lot of curious looks from people when I tell them I’m an urban planner. The first question I get asked is, “What’s an urban planner?” It’s a very broad profession that can cover quite a lot, but the best explanation I’ve come up with in regards to my current job is that I count parking spaces. All the work I’ve done here is very dependant on the car; screw the people, all that matters are if there enough parking spaces in the design. Or at least that’s how I’ve (sarcastically) learned to approach my part in the part in the architectural design process. I think the car is the devil. It’s a devil that we can’t live without, just like plastic (but I’ll save that devilish rant for another blog entry). As a society, we are so dependant on cars that they drive the design of our communities. (No pun intended). There is some crazy statistic that for every car in the U.S. there are eight parking spaces. That’s a lot of asphalt! Wouldn’t it be nice to have eight homes? You could have a home on the beach, in the mountains, in the city, in the country, in the north, in the south, and two other great places. Well, every car in America has eight homes. Aren’t all those cars lucky!?
Okay, you get my point. Moving on. I try to keep my desk neat. I can’t stand clutter. It makes me feel out of control. (OCD issue, I know.)
I’ve got an assortment of papers taped to my overhead storage for quick reference. There’s my 2012 calendar that Nick made me which has yet to be hung up, my water, banana, and a box of Kashi Granola Bars. There are also two books on my desk which I bought and “donated” to the office library, but I’m thinking of bringing them home. And last is my paper storage bin. I used to keep this on the other side of my desk (area shown in the next picture), but one of my bosses kept moving it every time he came to explain a new project to me. Well, you know me and my order. He kept messing with my order and it drove me so crazy I had to move the damn paper storage bin to the other side of my desk so this particular boss would quit moving it every time he came over to talk to me. (OCD again. I can’t help it!)
The other side of my desk (where the paper storage bin used to live). Here, I have a rescued bamboo plant, tissues, and a bobble-head that I picked up at a conference a long time ago. I also have my running scheduled taped down to the desk (so nobody can move it) for quick reference, although I have my workouts memorized by heart.
To my back is a window…. leading out to the beautiful parking lot. Look! Homes for all those cars! I’m a hypocritical urban planner. I have a car out there in the parking lot. In fact, not only is it a car, but it’s a gas-guzzling SUV. But to my defense, I got it when I was in Michigan and Four-Wheel Drive was more appropriate there. Besides, I might not stand a chance of survival in anything smaller than an SUV if I were to ever get in a car accident in Texas. Everything is bigger in Texas, including the cars! I keep radiating towards talking about cars today for some reason. Back to the window. I’m happy and very fortunate to sit by a window. I know Nick’s office is miserable without any windows in sight. When I first started working here, I sat in the middle of the studio (Studios are what architects call architecture offices) without any natural daylight by me. I found it very depressing and jumped on the opportunity to move to a desk by the window.
Below my desk is my computer (to save precious desk space) and a blanket. I know, the blanket is very dirty being on the floor, but it serves a purpose being there. As you can see, we have concrete floors (über architectural), but unfortunately the exposed garage is right below this floor, without any insulation. The floor is VERY cold, which leads to cold toes. So I put the blanket on the floor as my impromptu insulation. It helps.
And to round out my workspace (I know it’s been a trilling tour and you all are sad for it to end) is this cute holiday card I got over the holidays from another architect friend.
A cityscape! What a perfect holiday card for an urban planner. I think I might try to recreate the card using my graphic know-how and give it out myself next holiday season!
And that concludes the tour of a crazy CAD Monkey’s workspace!