PPaP: Practicable Professional Architecture Practice
by Kalavati Somvanshi, FAIA
Westwood Books Publishing LLC

"Construction document process begins immediately after the design development phase because the whole team is aware of what would be going forward."

Put together like a seminar presentation just as much as it is a book, PPaP functions as an action plan for aspiring architects or simply those who need to find a new way of doing things in their practice. With only a partial focus on the actual conducting of architectural design and the craft itself, this book lends its attention largely to the entire process that takes place the moment a firm is tapped to design a structure. From preliminary feasibility studies and putting together an RFP all the way to the bidding process and conducting site supervision during construction, this helpful guide provides direction through every step that isn’t glamorized or well-known to outsiders.

Every bit of information presented is the culmination of the author’s career in architecture that spans three continents and almost fifty years. Many of the early chapters that deal with reports and studies function best in a text-only format, but there are numerous illustrations, photographs, and other examples provided when it comes to understanding a good floor plan, working model, or instance of strong interior design. These examples come from the author’s own work and feature a variety of different buildings that all carry their own set of design criteria and unique challenges, such as an upscale residential house, a metropolitan apartment building, a high school, or a corporate office building.

With professional insight and experience on eight different aspects of an architect’s job, PPaP is a fantastic way to learn from a seasoned professional the best way to handle a project from start to finish. This blanket approach that covers more than just design principle and tricks of the trade creates a technical manual that is exceedingly useful, providing guidance on the kinds of matters that make a project run smoothly, win awards, or just land contracts from clients. Obviously, anything involving the actual design is in the eye of the beholder or often. in this case, the eye of the client. But this is a collection of best practices for the things that are a bit more scientific, including minimizing the potential for change orders or confusion among the many organizations required to get a building project approved, up to code, under budget, and on time. That kind of information is the stuff that even the best designers need to be aware of if they want to keep their businesses running smoothly and their clientele happy.

This is a book for architects either working in the profession already or soon to embark on one, and as such it gets straight to the meat of its content. Readers with a passing interest in architecture or who are somewhat “hobbyists” who appreciate design principles and such will not find much in this book to capture their interest. Its no-nonsense, purely functional nature, however, will be ideal for those that have a need for a book like this as it imparts its wisdom quickly upon the first read but is also easily consulted to answer specific questions as they arise. Readers may not need all the advice contained within, but the structure is comprehensive enough that whatever situation comes up, PPaP probably has the answer that they need, with a thorough explanation and some real-world examples to help everybody get on board and understand.

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