As architects and builders, tracking construction projects is day-to-day business.  Everything from the finances to the kitchen faucet revisions are tracked, documented and distributed.  And while the housekeeping and accuracy of project tracking are important to the success of a built work – the spreadsheets, binders and rolls of drawings lack a sense of poetics.  The process is full of poetry – it’s just that the business of project management extracts a different information set.  Recently we’ve been introduced to a handful of home & business owners who have taken it upon themselves to document their design and construction projects.  They’ve created blogs, photomontages and chronological accounts of their experiences for the world to see and comment on.  These individuals are creating catalysts for transparency and dialogue in the design and construction industries.  In documenting the process from the owner’s viewpoint they are, in effect, extracting a different information set, an information set that is poetic and speaks to a greater cross section of society.

Jeremy and his wife are homeowners in Toronto – or we should say they were homeowners until they knocked their house down to begin the adventure of construction.  In Jeremy’s words: was created to document every step of our adventure. From start to finish, I want to share our experience with complete transparency; finding a contractor, choosing an architect, defining our green strategies, and balancing the budget. In the end, I hope the site will stand as a guide for other would-be home builders. Something that will help eliminate the unknown and make a project of this scale more approachable”

Everything is covered, from a very thorough demolition photo montage to what they learned last weekend about heat recovery systems.  The site is particularly good in discussing and documenting environmentally smart design, energy audits and government rebates.  Heck, there’s even an onsite webcam updated every 30 minutes.  So go check it out and let these hard workers know what you think.

Mike is a homeowner in Seattle and pro blogger.  He recently bought a beautiful piece of property, started a blog to document the entire process and hired BUILD llc to design a new modern home.  From Mike’s blog:

“In beginning the process of building a house, I’ve found no singular source of information online which describes the start-to-finish process of creating a new custom home. There are a ton of “Building A Home For Dummies”-style books on Amazon, as well as disparate blog posts and photo galleries about new construction, but nowhere have I found a coherent, first-hand journal of the entire process from the standpoint of someone like me: a guy building his first house with no clue what to do besides putting one foot before the other.

A House By The Park will attempt to be that guide for others looking to do exactly what I’m trying to do: build a great, affordable custom home with no prior experience. If something like this existed before I began my project, I know I’d be a lot more equipped than I currently am.”

Mike is covering important, useful topics for homeowners, future homeowners, home-remodelers and future home-remodelers.  Starting with the search for property, the real-estate industry and home financing, Mike hasn’t missed a beat.  Keep ‘A House By The Park’ on your radar and stay tuned-in with your friends at BUILD.

You’ve most likely seen Chase’s work at some point or another.  He heads up Chase Jarvis Photography here in Seattle, he’s an action photographer, renaissance man and a big ideas guy.  One of his big ideas was to create a truly inspirational photography studio and office which was completed a year ago.  He photo-documented the entire construction sequence from A-Z, all with a sharp shooters eye.

Hats off to these individuals for diving in full force to the adventure of design and construction and spending their personal time documenting the process.  In each situation the authors mention an effort to help eliminate the mystery of design and construction.  We architects need to take note – the design and construction industries are becoming cryptic to a dangerous degree.

For those of you interested in doing some poetic tracking of your own (whether it be about your construction project or not) check out Many-Eyes.  The website allows users to create, visualize and share data based graphics.  The tools allow you to display data in a variety of graphic forms and filters allowing the discovery of different patterns.  Here are two quick and simple examples from the site comparing the percentage of world skyscrapers per country.