On architecture, and Invercargill being awesome

I've been thinking about architecture today - but not in a fancy oh-look-how-stylish-that-looks! kind of way (which I think architecture can get quite a lot of). Rather, I've been thinking about its functionality.

I study quantity surveying (with a touch of architectural drafting on the side), so over time I become good with numbers, project management and budgets. I also develop a skill of reading architectural paperwork with little trouble. Due to New Zealand being in somewhat of a housing crisis at the moment, it means I have fairly good prospects in terms of both employment and income in the future, especially if I do my craft well.

But personal benefits aside, I feel I have a role to play in the future of social housing and community development, and passion for it; which kind of brings me back from where I started this blog post - architecture.

I have two pet peeves when it comes to social housing - or building projects in general when they're funded by community-owned "public" money.

One is fancy design to the detriment of building's functionality.

The other is reducing construction cost to the detriment of building's functionality.

I'll give you two examples. First, in Invercargill recently a new office hub was built (for public money - it was a council investment) and they had an unusually angled roof which, during construction, started having leakage problems. It was one of those instances where I listened to the stories of the construction process and thought to myself, "Man, that's not efficient use of public money." I mean... I get the need to try to make the building look "nice". I do get that.

But not when that "niceness" then comes at a price of having to spend money on fixing gutters because something that looked doable on an architectural drawing did not, in fact, turn out doable on an actual building site, and then people spent hours, and hours, and hours fixing it.

Those hours cost.

Another example is social housing project recently completed in another New Zealand town where bedrooms had... one power outlet each and I thought to myself, "That's not reasonable." People don't use a single power plug in a bedroom each any more - more likely, they are going to need to use five. Six.

Not one.

Putting a single plug in a bedroom means almost guaranteeing that people are going to set up extension cords upon extension cords to plug in all their bedside lamps and tech devices and whatnot - and lowering their fire safety as a result. The council probably saved a little in the process of that construction but... it's not worth it. It's not the place to save money from.

And so, when yesterday I had a discussion with an Invercargill's gymnastics club who are hoping to put up a new purpose-built gym for their young gymnasts in, maybe, a decade from now (my kids are among them), I told them how I feel such a passion for being involved in such community projects. With the skills I am developing I feel I can have a very strong impact in keeping the projects, one, close to their intended budgets through good project management and, secondly, just making sure that public money goes a good distance because the better we built the public projects, the more money there is to go around for other public projects.

That, as a result, impacts on people's wellbeing.

And, man!, do I feel like I should just create a website called Invercargill Is Awesome! because the longer I am living here, the more I am (genuinely!) thinking that, man!, Invercargill really is awesome.

Just awesome.

A good, family-oriented, wellbeing-centred, park-rich, public-space-interested living environment.

Invercargill is awesome.

Here we go!

Today I am starting progesterone therapy. Looking forward to seeing what it does!

Edited to add: holy-f*ck-o-moly, the first two tablets and the subsequent three hours were... not good, let's put it this way. It was interesting.

I'll keep you posted.

She can bend if she wants to

A couple of months old, The Girlie used to have a habit of sucking her toes.

I thought the ability would eventually pass. And it may - but it hasn't yet.

The Girlie can still suck her toes at will. Yesterday, for example: I put her to bed because she was grizzly and tired, but she was convinced that she wasn't yet ready for sleep. Out of defiance she curled herself up in bed, stuck her toe in her mouth and started sucking on it, grumpily looking at me as if to say, "Hah, you may put me to bed, but you can't make me stop this!"

The girl sure has got... determination.

...and lots of other characteristics that go with determination.

Yeah, that about sums it up.

Greenhouse at the moment

It's pretty cool to look at the greenhouse now...

...because six weeks ago it looked like this: