18 February 2015
The devil’s in the detail
The first month of 2015 has gone quickly, the year is moving forward with big milestone after big milestone on the horizon. My AutoCAD course, having a symbiotic relationship with my new role as trainee project designer in the design team, has propelled things forward positively.
When I started the course, the rigorous course programme was outlined, with dates set in the calendar for topics that had to be covered before key assessments. As with any new venture or project, the goal can seem far away and hazy, but with direction, perseverance and encouragement from colleagues and mentors, things have become a lot clearer.
On the college front, I’m fortunate to have an impressive tutor, Mariutxy Cadavid, a full time engineering tutor who is also studying for a masters in aeronautical engineering in a different language! In the office, coaching comes from the heavyweights in design, Peter Hales and Phillip Mansell.
January has consisted of three major assessments – the sprint, the marathon, and a knowledge exam as I call them. The sprint involved drawing a screwdriver, the marathon, producing five separate drawings completed within three and half hours, testing all the commands taught in class, and the knowledge exam consisting of some thirty questions.
These elements have all helped with the first project that I have been assigned to work on at LSPC – an outdoor pool in the home counties – designing from the excavation upwards, providing necessary information for each stage of the build, which each contractor will be carrying out.
The teaching approaches adopted by my senior design colleagues vary, Peter has been introducing me to the highly acclaimed standards that LSPC adopt to achieve pools and spas which stand apart from others, whilst Phillip has been delving into his deep knowledge bank and displaying wider technical aspects of the AutoCAD software needed to create drawings quickly and efficiently, as well as helping with other parts, such as detailing.
Mariutxy’s approach to teaching the class creates the framework for learning and in-depth knowledge and skills development; then I get the opportunity to put that into practice at the office.
I see these different approaches as being similar to the different approaches artists take to painting, with one preferring oil over water based paint, or a heavier grade canvass. Experiencing these different approaches has given me great confidence to explore what works best for me.
The major surprise for me is the intricate detail which one can achieve by drawing lines and circles – a new drawing is like a new universe, and anything can be created or conveyed within it, effectively providing so much more than a visual aid, but providing guidance for the artisans to create the intentions of the designers. A drawing provides the essence of the work.
Early reports from Mariutxy suggest that my exams went well but the official word from the college’s government committee haven’t been released yet; fingers crossed!