Finding the right balance can be tough. Sometimes it is better to take a step back and reevaluate before jumping in with both feet. The terms ‘level’ and ‘plumb’ are so woven into the practice of design and construction that few projects are completed without their application. Take communication for instance, itself a key component of any project. It is just as important to be “on the level” and “straightforward with someone” in digital communications as it is in face to face conversations. And yet, with email it is easy to rattle off messages where the tone and intent may be misinterpreted or worse an emotional response is prematurely sent. The danger of this type of communication is that it is easy to write something that one wouldn’t think of saying in person. So if you find yourself in this position, try to keep your message level and plumb, and if possible follow-up your email with a phone call or face to face meeting. At the very least you will confirm that your message was received and understood.
For many in Missouri 2012 was a year of severe drought conditions. If we wanted anything to grow we had to water well and often. The story was much the same for those of us in the Design and Construction industry. Due to the economy the last few years have been lean in many market sectors, increasing competition for available resources and forcing us to find ways to do more with less. Fortunately, relationships, built and maintained by the staff of PWA over many years, have helped sustain us through the most difficult and lean times. The effort to maintain these relationships is the “water” that keeps the firm alive and growing. So, if you are among the fortunate and thriving, take time to appreciate that which contributes to your success. Count your blessings, water well and often!
Solutions often come when you take a break, focus on another task, and return with a widened perspective. Also, it never hurts to get a little exercise. You never know who you might run into on the trail, in the gym or just taking a walk around the neighborhood. Actually, it is quite common to hear Brad Wright say as he’s going out the door ‘Going for a walk around the block.’ Whether it is to get in a little mid-day exercise or to take a much needed break and get some fresh air, he is not alone in the need to step away periodically from what is all consuming and perhaps find a little perspective. Sometimes those walks have added benefits like a fresh cup of coffee from around the corner or a bowl of ice cream from the shop down the street. We are lucky that in downtown Columbia, Missouri we have much to enjoy within walking or biking distance and even luckier when we meet someone we know along the way. So go ahead, put down that electronic device, step away from the computer and get to the business of reconnecting. Your heart and mind will thank you.
Much of what we do as architects and designers cannot be accomplished without the assistance of a great many people. We are fortunate to have the support of so many people - our families, friends, clients, consultants, contractors, suppliers, etc. While it never hurts to say please at this time of the year, we especially want to take the time to say thank you to all who make our progress possible. Please keep us in mind should you need our assistance, and thank you again for your confidence and support. May your future be bright and full of the possibilities found in this holiday season. Your Friends at PWA
Recently the Hawthorn Chapter of the Missouri Native Plant Society recognized and honored the Missouri Conference of the United Methodist Church with the Hawthorn Award for fulfilling its commitment to native plants in the landscaping of the new conference center, especially creating a native wetland area to reduce runoff into Hinkson Creek. With volunteer help, the church has created a 99% Missouri landscape which is functional and lovely, full of life and color. According to the Grow Native website, “native plants are a good choice for landscaping whether you have one-fourth acre in the city, four acres at the edge of town or 40 acres in the country. Increasing environmental awareness, a desire to connect with nature on a personal level and limited time to devote to home landscape and land management projects are reasons to turn to natural landscapes for inspiration.” A diverse landscape with many native plant species: Supports abundant animal life Reduces maintenance Offers year ‘round interest Features plantings that are less vulnerable to destructive insects and diseases Needs few additional inputs such as fertilizer or chemical pesticides. PWA is fortunate to have our very own master naturalist on staff. Suzanne Wright, a member of the
What better way to begin our very first blog entry than with a classic photo from the PWA archives of Nick Peckham and Brad Wright, founding Principals of PWA, sitting on a window ledge having a conversation. They might be talking about architecture, or perhaps dogs, ducks, or even how to save the planet. Potential captions about their conversation: "Wow! This is "a great view of downtown Columbia." "I really wish you would stop coming out here. I'm afraid of heights." "I bet my dogs shed more than your alpacas." "Man it is beautiful out here. Do you think they'll notice if we don't come back in?" "How about we save the world one building at a time." Regardless, I bet they had an interesting one on one conversation with the windows open - perfectly symbolic of the way we we work at PWA.