When you think of fine architecture, it’s unlikely that the building’s design development will come to mind. Yet veteran architects know that if that process falters, even the most creative of designs will ultimately fail. Enter Kalavati Somvanshi’s primer, PPaP: Practical Professional Architecture Practice.
The veteran architect’s PPaP seeks to marry ideal aspects of dynamic design with practical steps needed to go from concept to production – to create architecture that Somvanshi says is “usable and highly admired by owners, users and the surrounding community.”
With its focus on methodologies and strategic management practices related to such phases as feasibility studies, the RFP (request for proposal) process, schematic design and bidding process, the book is essentially a primer for architects and professionals with related functions, such as contractors and project managers.
But it also provides interesting information for others seeking to familiarize themselves with the vernacular and understand how architects think about projects in their early design stages. For instance, Somvanshi writes of the initial thinking that occurred when creating a Korean Museum design competition proposal: “The question is: How would you want to lead your imagination?”
Somvanshi has designed everything from high-rise condominiums and private homes to libraries and a planetarium, as well as worked with many prominent architectural firms in the U.S. and abroad. Thus, it’s puzzling why the she didn’t find a better translator for the text, which often contains clumsy word choices and awkward sentences. In her Preface, for example, the author confounds when discussing the “Site Supervision” phase of the design lifecycle: “Finally, the genuine Site Supervision is a successful method of finalizing the completion of the award-winning and extraordinary achievement of most of the projects.”
Fortunately, it’s still possible to glean the meaning throughout most of the book. And the many pages of schematic designs bring welcome relief to the densely-packed chapters.
The book presents some frustrating reading challenges. Still, architects planning their next project will find helpful information here.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.