Thanks to the old stereotype of the architect hunched over a drafting board, T-square in hand, many people still think that an architect's main purpose is to draw "blueprints" (nowadays more properly called working drawings). The trouble with this romantic notion is that it suggests that architects are paid to draw, when in fact, they're paid to think. In truth, producing working drawings is a tedious but relatively incidental aspect of the architect's charge. It's roughly analogous to taking a novel that's been written in shorthand and typing it into a computer. The essential creative work--if it's been done properly--is all but finished, and only the mechanics of formatting remain. Alas, this preliminary thinking, which is the real kernel of the design process, takes a lot of time and effort and yet may not yield much of a tangible product until much later. Considering this dearth of physical results, it's gratifying that many people nevertheless perceive why spending 15 percent or s...
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